Niagara Businessman Receives Air Force Civilian Award
By Peter Borys, 914 AW Public Affairs
/ Published February 08, 2011
NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, NY -- Niagara Falls businessman & President of the Niagara Military Affairs Council (NIMAC), Mr. Merrell Lane is one of the few, the proud and a civilian who recently received a very prestigious award by the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton A. Schwartz.
Mr. Lane has been very actively involved with NIMAC, the air base and the Air Force for many years. He was one of the key players who kept the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station from being closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in 1995 & again in 2005.
Lane distinguished himself by service as an Air Force advocate under the Air Force Chief of Staff Civic Leader Program. With both a knowledge of Air Force operations and a deep grasp of social and economic issues vital to Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, he advised the Secretary, Chief of Staff and senior Air Force leaders on these matters while serving as an Air Force Civic Leader to the communities surrounding the installation. He was presented this award earlier this month while on a civic leader briefing at the Pentagon. Mr. Lane and thirty other civic leaders from around the country were afforded the opportunity to view the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center (AFMAO) at Dover AFB, in Delaware. AFMAO's is charged with Air Force wide mortuary responsibility and operation of the Department of Defense's sole Port Mortuary. It is their mission and privilege to fulfill the nation's sacred commitment of ensuring dignity, honor, and respect to the fallen and care, service and support to their families.
"Being a funeral director I was amazed at the job they do, the attention to detail, and the dignity they display for every fallen military member. Very impressed", said Lane. The group was not allowed to view any of the fallen military members who were there at the time, but they were given a full brief of the operation and mission.