Commitment to caring: Airmen helping Airmen

Air Force Assistance Fund Logo.  Image was recreated by Billy Smallwood of the Air Force News Agency and is 7x8 inches @ 300 ppi.

Air Force Assistance Fund Logo. Image was recreated by Billy Smallwood of the Air Force News Agency and is 7x8 inches @ 300 ppi.

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- In a culture where there is an everyday word for watching out for one another - Wingman - it's not surprising programs like the Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign exist.

This year's Air Force Assistance Fund campaign, "Commitment to Caring," which runs locally until May 4, will provide Airmen the opportunity to contribute to any of the four official Air Force charitable organizations: The Air Force Aid Society, The Air Force Enlisted Village Indigent Widow's Fund, The Air Force Village Indigent Widow's Fund, and The General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation.

- The Air Force Aid Society, which provides Airmen and their families with worldwide emergency financial assistance, education assistance and an array of base level community-enhancement programs. The Airman and Family Readiness Flight has full details on programs and eligibility requirements. Information is also available online at http://www.afas.org.

- The Air Force Enlisted Village Indigent Widow's Fund in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., near Eglin Air Force Base, which provides rent subsidy and other support to indigent widows and widowers of retired enlisted people 55 and older. More information is available at www.afenlistedwidows.org.

- The Air Force Village Indigent Widow's Fund in San Antonio, which is a life-care community for retired officers, spouses, widows or widowers and family members. The Air Force Village Web site is www.airforcevillages.com.

- The General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, which provides rent and financial assistance to indigent widows and widowers of officers and enlisted people in their own homes and communities. The LeMay Foundation Web site is www.lemayfoundation.org

Now in its 34th year, 100 percent of designated AFAF contributions will benefit active-duty, Reserve, Guard, retired Air Force people, surviving spouses and families. Last year, Airmen exceeded the campaign goal by contributing more than $7.3 million.

Airmen need look no further than the aftermath of last year's hurricanes to understand the benefit the fund provides the Air Force community. Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley addressed this recently in a joint memorandum for the Air Force Assistance Fund.

"Last year, hurricanes Katrina and Rita vividly demonstrated the need for rapid and reliable emergency assistance," Gen. Moseley said.

"Our four AFAF charities -- the Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Enlisted Village Indigent Widows' Fund, Air Force Village Indigent Widows' Fund and the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation -- provided immediate financial and housing assistance to our active duty, Reserve, Air National Guard and retired Air Force members. This was in addition to their normal ongoing assistance with the hardships of deployments, accidents, illness, aging and death," the general continued.

Last year, the Goodfellow A&FRF channeled more than $93,000 in AFAS funds to members' right here at the 17th Training Wing. This is of great contrast compared to the $38,000 in donations collected last year from the 17th Training Wing for AFAS specifically.

That means Goodfellow Airmen received approximately 250 percent more than they contributed. Across Air Education and Training Command, the total pledges for AFAS were $958,000, and the payback was well over $2 million dollars. This is proof that the program really works.

"In summary, the annual Air Force Assistance Fund campaign is captured by one statement, Airmen Supporting Airmen," said Col. Richard Ayres, 17th Training Wing commander. If we do not step up and take care of our military family then who will?

The 2007 AFAF campaign will end in 2 more weeks. This article is one last call to request contributions you can spare.

Remember some day these funds may help you, or someone in your Air Force Family. Contributions to the AFAF are tax deductible.

For more information, contact 1st Lt. Ross Davis (654-3774), or visit afassistancefund.org.

(Information from several Air Force News stories, as well as information provided by Staff Sgt. Nicholasa Reed, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, contributed to this story).