By Tonya Fennell: Freedom Newspapers
Having a special needs child, Lisa Dunaway was most concerned with the medical facilities in her prospective new home.
Along with other spouses of Air Force Special Operations Command, she joined her husband Thursday and Friday to tour Clovis and Portales. She may soon call Clovis home when the AFSOC 16th Wing moves to Cannon Air Force Base.
Forty-six AFSOC personnel and their spouses took part in the two-day tour of Cannon AFB, the Melrose Bombing Range, schools, medical facilities and housing.
Dunaway said Clovis held more than she expected. “There’s more here than I thought,” she said. “I wanted to make sure the medical facilities and physicians were adequate.”
The young Air Force wife said she found the health care services in Clovis would meet her child’s needs.
Born in Kansas and raised in Colorado, Brandy Hewins said a possible move to Clovis would mean she was closer to home.
“I think it (Clovis) is just great,” Hewins said. “I love the area.”
The co-pilot’s wife said she began researching Clovis schools on the Internet before her visit to Clovis. Hewin said she enjoyed the tour because she had the opportunity to view schools and churches on base as well as in the community.
Air Force spouse Tricia Bauernfeind lauded the Clovis weather.
“The weather has been wonderful,” she said. “There is no concern for hurricanes and the humidity is not a problem.”
Bauernfeind said the weather is perfect for social gatherings. “I can just imagine the get-togethers we could have,” she said, adding she welcomes the opportunity to live closer to her hometown of Dallas.
Bauernfeind said the tour included a private banquet at the Clovis Civic Center.
“The food was wonderful,” she said.
Lt. Gen. Michael Wooley, commanding general of Air Force Special Operations Command, said the overall consensus among the tour participants regarding Clovis was favorable. Wooley said the purpose of the tour was to show AFSOC leaders and their spouses the “real deal” of Clovis, Portales and Melrose.
“This community has stepped up and provided information,” Wooley said. “If I was going to give this tour a grade, it would be an A-plus.”
Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega said he was pleased with the way the tour of Portales went, complete with banners, store signs and folks waving as the buses traveled through the streets of Portales.
“Our goal was to show the community, including the education (opportunities) and also to show the quality of life in the community,” Ortega said. “I believe we were able to give them a good snapshot of what our community is like.”
Ortega said the people on the tour were particularly interested in seeing what Portales has to offer in the way of education, including higher education, and housing was another big topic.
According to Ortega, Portales city officials explained the new housing initiative with city property near the golf course, and the group toured Cannon Meadows, a housing development near Eastern New Mexico University, owned by the Air Force.
“They were very impressed with the hospitality,” Ortega said. “I think what they see is the sincerity of the community.”
— Portales News-Tribune Managing Editor Karl Terry contributed to this report.