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Great American Defense Community

alt=""The Association of Defense Communities and the Defense Communities Caucus has designated the Eglin-Hurlburt Community as one of ten “Great American Defense Communities” for providing unwavering support to service members and military families. This program acknowledges the unique contributions of cities, counties, and regions that host installations make to improve quality of life for service members, veterans and their families. This inaugural class of communities was selected by a panel of defense community advocates and experts from dozens of nominees based on the broad range of efforts they carry out on behalf of military personnel and their families, covering areas such as education, job opportunities, housing, family support during deployments and community appreciation.

The Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County nominated the Eglin-Hurlburt community for consideration as an inaugural designee of this prestigious award. With demonstrated long-standing and unwavering support and innovative initiatives benefiting our military personnel and their families, the Eglin-Hurlburt Community has received the Great American Defense Community designation.

Community Evaluation Criteria

  • Community Building and Integration: provides an environment in which service members, their families, and veterans are welcomed and integrated into the community fabric
  • Support and Collaboration: has a formal military-community support organization that includes advocates from local governments, non-profit organizations, and area businesses to form installation-community partnerships that enhance services to service members, their families, and veterans
  • Educational and Employment Opportunities: provides a wide range of job opportunities for service members and their families; and ensures quality educational opportunities for military children, spouses, service members, and veterans
  • Family Support: offers a range of support to service members and their families before, during and after deployments, and as they transition from the military.

Military Family Life Counselors

Schools can provide stability and a normal routine for children whose parents are deployed or are transferred from base to base. The stresses that may result from family separation or moving to a new community may interfere with the ability of students to focus on learning. The predictability of the classroom helps to lessen the impact of the resulting disruption of daily routines.

Military Family Life Counselors (MFLC) are available for each school and work closely with school district staff to ensure that the unique needs of our military students are met. MFLCs provide a wide range of support to military children and youth, family members and staff who work with children by

  • Engaging in activities with children and youth
  • Providing behavioral interventions in classrooms, at camps, and in Child Development Centers to assist staff in setting and managing boundaries
  • Modeling behavioral techniques and providing feedback to staff
  • Being available to parents and staff to discuss interactions with children and other concerns
  • Facilitating psycho-educational groups

Issues Addressed by MFLCs

  • School adjustment
  • Deployment and separation
  • Reunion adjustment
  • Sibling and parent-child communication
  • Behavioral concerns
  • Fear, grief, and loss


  • Eglin AFB Installation School Liaison Officer
    Elaine LaJeunesse
    96 FSS
    310 W. Van Matre Avenue
    Suite 252 Bldg 210
    Eglin AFB, FL 32542
    Phone: 850.882.4319
    (DSN) 312.872.4319
  • Hurlburt Field School Liaison Officer
    Lacey Allen
    School Liaison, Hurlburt Field Child and Youth Services
    1 SOFSS/FSY, Hurlburt Field, FL
    117 McMillian St., Hurlburt Field, FL 32544
    Military Child Education
    Connecting Families, Communities, and Schools

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