NEW EGYPT, N.J. -- The Ocean County Military Support Committee hosted an evening of community support for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst April 5 at the Laurita Winery here.

The event was attended by several representatives from JBMDL to include base leadership, the Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command, and Army Support Activity, Fort Dix.

"Thank you so much to the various support communities that we have out there," said Air Force Col. Frederick D. Thaden, JBMDL commander. "Joint Base is about relationships with our 80 mission partners on base, but it's also very much about relationships with the community, and we have some very strong relationships here with this community."

"This event is important for the joint base and our community partners, especially so they understand some of the opportunities that students and colleges may be able to have on our installation and partner with ASA, Fort Dix for some of the opportunities they may have there," said Dr. "Mikey" Kloster, 99th RSC chief of staff.

Serving as the event's guest speaker was New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, whose son serves in the Air Force.

"I'm proud to be a Blue Star Mom, and I'm proud to support service members in any way possible," Guadagno said. "There's nobody more committed to making sure you (at JBMDL) are all welcome, you are all comfortable, and you are all successful than the mother of one of the next generation of veterans."

JBMDL is the second-largest employer in New Jersey, second only to the state government. More than 42,000 active-duty and reserve-component service members, civilian employees and family members work and reside on the base.

"In 2009 when we became a joint base, we became stronger as a joint base, stronger as a service and stronger as a community," said Army Col. Martin F. Klein, deputy commander of JBMDL and commander of Army Support Activity, Fort Dix.

The Ocean County Military Support Committee consists of business leaders, community partners and local government officials who share a common goal to provide a broad spectrum of support to military neighbors and JBMDL.

"The committee has spent years advocating for and supporting the joint base," said Dana Lancellotti, Ocean County Military Support Committee chairwoman who also serves as Ocean County's director of Business Development and Tourism and is part of JBMDL's Honorary Commander Program.