NEWS | March 21, 2012

Airmen helping Airmen - AFAF campaign

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Service members are constantly supporting each other - providing guidance, education and lending a helping hand when necessary, essentially a system that operates like a family.

Similar to the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, the Air Force has the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign which allows Airmen to give back to fellow wingmen world-wide. This year's campaign 'Commitment to Caring' will run from March 26 to May 4.

"The AFAF is a noble program that benefits current Air Force members as well as retirees and their families globally. It can help a service member overcome the obstacles of financial crises," said Maj. Lee Warlick, installation AFAF project officer at 628th Medical Group at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base. "Our ultimate goal this year is to raise $70,102. We'd like as many service members as possible to donate to the cause; even just one dollar a month goes a long way.

"There is great emphasis on wingmanship within the Air Force, so what an excellent way to demonstrate Airmen helping Airmen by contributing toward these charities to take care of our own," she continued.

The AFAF is composed of four different aide organizations that benefit Air Force families during financial hardships: the Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Village, Air Force Enlisted Village and the General. and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation. These charities provide grants, educational loans and retirement housing as well as interest-free loans for Air Force members.

Air Force Aid Society
For 67 years, this organization has been the official charity of the Air Force, providing Airmen and their families emergency financial and educational assistance as well as a wide variety of community enhancement programs to improve their quality of life.

The AFAS offers emergency interest-free loans for family living expenditures or for funeral costs. This fund is available to alleviate financial burdens to enable Airmen to continue in performing their duties.

In 2011, AFAS received $4.5 million in contributions and provided $17.7 million in support to more than 40,000 Airmen and their families.

Air Force Village
Provides military retirement housing community in San Antonio, Texas retired officers and their family members.

Air Force Enlisted Village
The AFEV has been supporting survivors of retired enlisted service members since 1970 by providing homes and financial assistance.

General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation
Provides rent and financial assistance to survivors of service members living in their own homes and communities. In 2008, this charity gave more than $445,000 in assistance that benefited 64 women with monthly grants to augment incomes that fell below the poverty line, and gave one-time grants to an additional 23 widows for necessities such as wheelchairs and prosthetics.

In a released memorandum regarding the 2012 AFAF campaign, Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force and Michael Donley, Secretary of the Air Force said, "This year, it is not about the Airmen giving more, it's about more Airmen giving. If you have considered buying lunch for fellow Airmen once a month, we ask that you'd thoughtfully consider supporting the 2012 AFAF campaign as we strive toward our Air Force-wide goal of $6.41 million to continue our Wingman's tradition of taking care of our own."

All active duty, retired service members and their dependents are eligible for AFAF assistance, as well as dependents of deceased veterans. All members interested in contributing to the AFAF campaign or have questions can contact their unit AFAF representative. Each unit representative is responsible for contacting 100 percent of the personnel assigned to their unit. For members who are deployed or on temporary duty orders who would like to donate, visit website: www.afassistancefund.org/fund/form.cfm.

"Your donation may help the Airman who sits next to you every day or to a widow with four children who recently lost her husband during a deployment," Warlick concluded. "Each and every dollar counts - make yours count today."