Niagara Gazette — The lead community advocate for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station has named a new chairman.
The Niagara Military Affairs Council, the nonprofit organization that works to support the growth and prosperity of the base, has elected John A. Cooper Sr. as the organization’s new chairman.
Cooper will take over for Merrell Lane, who has stepped down as chairman after 18 years of dedicated and successful service to NIMAC. The unanimous election of Cooper by the board of directors was held at the NIMAC’s recent annual meeting, at which the board also voted to add new members Jeff Glatz, Brad Shumacher, Gary Strenkoski, David Dahlberg and Don Thompson, while reelecting Richard Muscatello.
“I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead an organization such as NIMAC,” said Cooper, who worked closely with Lane throughout his 18-year tenure as chairman. “Merrell has led NIMAC with the utmost integrity and professionalism. I congratulate Merrell on his successful leadership over the last 18 years and appreciate that he will remain involved so that we can depend on his counsel and advice as we move forward.”
Prior to becoming chairman, Cooper has served as vice chairman since 1996. He is also CEO of Cooper Sign Co., a small family business in Niagara Falls. He is a member of Grace Baptist Church in Tonawanda, chairman of the Thunder of Niagara Air Show (held at NFARS), and a member of the board of the Northeast Council of Air Shows, Inc. His past service includes co-founding and serving as president of the Town of Niagara Business and Professional Association, Inc.; vice chairman of the Town of Niagara Industrial Development Agency; member of the Local Redevelopment Authority concerning the redevelopment of the United States Army Reserve and the Town of Wheatfield Firearms Committee.
Lane was appointed chairman in 1995 by the Niagara Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. Under his direction, NIMAC worked closely with Federal, State and local community leaders and with the family readiness units. During the Base Realignment and Closure Commission of 1995 and 2005, the organization worked successfully to stress the importance of NFARS, both for our national defense and the local community. In 2008, Lane was appointed to become a member of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Civic Leaders Group.
“The Air Force listed (the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station) and its units for permanent closure in 2005 and, thanks to Merrell’s hard work and leadership, we are still here and stronger than ever,” said Cooper. “It was a lot of hard work and perseverance prior to 2005 that put us in a position to succeed and we will need to remain vigilant in this task.”