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107th Airlift Wing thanks local civic leader

  • Published
  • By Capt. Elaine Nowak
  • 107th Airlift Wing
Mr. Merrell Lane was honored by the 107th Airlift Wing here Saturday for his meritorious service to the military forces of the state of New York.

Col. John Higgins, 107th Airlift Wing Commander, presented Mr. Lane with the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal, Silver Device.

He also gave Mr. Lane a framed photo layout that included photos of the unit's past and present aircraft and of Mr. Lane in his interactions with the unit.

Mr. Lane distinguished himself as the Chairman of the Niagara Military Affairs Council, serving as a strong proponent of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and New York Air National Guard, from July 1, 2005 to Jan. 31, 2013.

Through his steadfast support of the 107th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard,
and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Mr. Lane has been instrumental in promoting the key contributions and capabilities that the 107th Airlift Wing, and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station provides to our nation's defense.

His tireless efforts in collaborating with local civic leaders, politicians, state and federal military commanders has resulted in over $200 million dollars in military construction at the base during his time as Chairmen of NIMAC. His work has resulted in the construction of the Armed Forces Reserve Center on the base, plans to locate and build a US Customs and Border Patrol Regional Facility, as well as securing funds to build a regional C-130 simulator. He was critical in leading the efforts to remove the 107th from the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission list in 2005, and again played a crucial role in lobbying federal officials to change the direction of the President's 2012 budget, providing the 107th Airlift Wing a new mission in 2013.

In addition, from 2007 until 2011, Mr. Lane served on the Chief of Staff, United States Air Force, Civic Leader Group. In this capacity, he served alongside other local leaders from across the nation, to advise the Chief of Staff on a multitude of topics related to defense spending, National Guard priorities, and military/civilian issues.

"Merrell Lane is the most singularly responsible individual for keeping Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station open since he became President of NIMAC in 1996. His hard work and devotion to the Air Base has influenced every Airman in the 107th Airlift Wing," said Col. Higgins.

Mr. Lane humbly accepted the award, giving credit back to the members of the 107th Airlift Wing.

"You do a lot of great things for this nation and I want to applaud you," he said.

"All of us at the 107th sincerely thank Mr. Lane for everything he has done. There would not be an Air Base in Niagara Falls if it were not for his labor," said Col. Higgins.