COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Armed with “I Love Lakota” signs, more than 800 people, including Governor Phil Bryant, U.S. Congressmen and U.S. Senators gathered at American Eurocopter to support the Lakota Helicopter Program. The federal government is considering cutting the program to save money.
Lakota is considered one of the most successful rotary wing aircraft programs in the country. Meco Reed has been working at American Eurocopter for 8 years.
“It brings Mississippi to the top level in the aviation business. We build the best aircraft for the military. I have a daughter that attends Mississippi State, which American Eurocopter gave me the opportunity to send her to college. I have a husband that’s a truck driver. We can spend time together on the weekends. They’re very family oriented.
Sam Perman’s son also works for the company. She traveled from Destin, Florida to support the cause.
“It not only effects the individual but the community as a whole. It effects health insurance, it effects the income of the family, the income of all the little small businesses and the area would be affected as well,” said Perman.
Organizers even provided people with access to computers after the rally, urging them to write to Washington and keep the industry running.
” A lot of people have been writing to express their support to the program. I think we have close to 4,000 letters sent to congress, for the community, for the military, we have 60 % of our workforce are veterans so that’s the support we get,”said President and CEO of American Eurocopter Marc Paganini.
And it’s that support that Sam believes will make a difference.
“I think that if we don’t participate, if each of us as an individual don’t participate in the big scope of things, then our message never gets heard,” said Perman.
At Thursday’s ceremony the company also received an award from The Golden Triangle Development LINK for their outstanding economic impact on the community and for their continued development in the region.