AFEV provides homes for military spouses

SHALIMAR, Florida - -- The Air Force Enlisted Village's mission is quite simple: To Provide a Home. The organization provides a home for surviving spouses of former Air Force heroes and to the mothers of current active duty Airmen. They give Air Force family members a safe, secure home, treat them with dignity, respect and care into their golden years.

Contributions to the AFEV during the Air Force Assistance Fund ensure that the group will always be able to offer a home for an Air Force enlisted widow in need such as Betty, whose name was changed for privacy. A resident AFEV helped her move here about six months ago.

Betty said she was comfortable living in her home--the house she had shared with her husband in their retirement. She gardened and had supportive friends nearby. Since her husband had passed, she still had all the bills to pay yet her monthly income was reduced in half. She loved her home but the upkeep was becoming too much and she was struggling to pay for everything, she said.

Betty said she had learned of the AFEV through one of her husband's Air Force journals. She called and placed her name on the waiting list as a possibility for her future. She said she also decided to put her home up for sale. Betty's home was on the housing market for three years when she received a call about an available apartment at the Air Force Enlisted Village. With no potential offers on her home, she could not afford the move, she said.

Then her problems began. She said a hurricane damaged the roof and she had to pay to have it replaced. Next, a winter storm damaged trees on her property and they needed to be removed.

"It was quite a costly project," she added.

Shortly after, the hot water heater broke and the furnace needed to be replaced. She said the repairs were all needed to sell the house, she said.

Betty said she remembers asking herself, when it would end.

"I felt like I couldn't do it anymore," she added.

She said the overwhelming and expensive home repairs depleted her savings and she was facing foreclosure on her home.

When she received a second call from the AFEV, Betty said she decided to give up her home and has never looked back. Her belongings were auctioned to downsize for her new life at the AFEV.

She added that she was used to moving around the world during her husband's Air Force career, but this move was different. It was the first one without her husband.

While moving into her apartment, Betty heard the sound of the National Anthem playing from nearby Eglin Air Force Base, Florida and welled up with tears.

Betty said she is happy and no longer worries about the financial burden of her house.

To learn more about the Air Force Enlisted Village contact (850) 651-9858 or visit www.afev.us.