RIVERVIEW — A brigadier general and a former newspaper publisher stepped up to the dais May 5 at The Regent in Riverview to tell the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce members in attendance about a community pride campaign for the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
The “My MacDill” initiative — launched in time for the base’s 75th anniversary — calls upon anybody with a history at MacDill to tell their stories online in a social media campaign designed to showcase the base and its meaning to their lives, livelihood and community.
There to tell the story behind the story of mymacdill.com were John Schueler, past president of Media General’s Florida Communications Group, and retired Brig. Gen. Arthur F. “Chip” Diehl III, former deputy director of engagement, plans and policy directorate at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) headquarters at MacDill.
“Upload a video or selfie, we’re going to ask you to participate in this,” said Schueler, who today is the chief operating officer for the Tampa Bay Partnership, a regional marketing organization. “It’s kind of like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but without the bucket.”
That challenge gained viral support — and raised $115 million in donations — in its mission to aid the ALS Association, the only national nonprofit fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affect nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Likewise, using the powerful tools and broad reach of social media channels, “My MacDill” aims for broad impact, as a “civilian objective to inform and educate the Tampa Bay area about the significant annual impact that the base has on Tampa Bay.”
According to Schueler, mymacdill.com has more than 100,000 impressions and at least 75,000 people actively engaged.
“There are lots of things we can do to help you market your selfies in support of my MacDill,” he added.
In his remarks, Diehl noted a key date in MacDill’s history — April 16, 1941, the day the base in South Tampa was dedicated. The social media campaign tied to that milestone “is just kicking off, and it’s fun,” he added.
“We’re celebrating 75 years of a wonderful heritage,” Diehl said, about the base that houses CENTCOM, one of the nine unified commands in the U.S. military, with responsibility for 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.
“Use your networking,” Diehl added. “Get the word out. Tell your stories personally. Get your children to tell their stories. You can’t reach out and not touch somebody else who does not want to be a part of this.”
Start by sharing stories, photos and videos at www.mymacdill.com, then share your postings on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media networks.