Airman 1st Class Colton Farley (left) turns in pledges and contributions for the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to Maj. Todd Brackett, installation project officer, May 3 at the Wright-Patterson Club. Farley works in the administrative offices of the Air Force Research Laboratory. (Skywrighter photo/Amy Rollins)

AFAF charitable campaign workers urge base community to ‘finish strong’

Only a week remains to make a difference in the lives of Airmen through the 46th annual Air Force Assistance Fund campaign at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The annual AFAF campaign, using the theme of “Commitment to Caring,” is raising funds until May 17 for AFAF-affiliated charities that assist active-duty, Reserve, Guard and retired Air Force personnel and their families.

This year’s campaign goal at Wright-Patterson AFB is $126,903, and as of May 6, about 20 percent of the goal had been reached.

“We’re really trying to reach that goal,” said 2nd Lt. Autumn Moreno. “We really need a push to get there.”

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It’s not too late to get engaged in the campaign and take care of other Airmen. It’s for a good cause, said Airman 1st Class Colton Farley, who works in the administrative offices of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

“It’s a program that reaches out to hundreds of thousands of Airmen across the Air Force, helping them with emergency funds, widows who have lost their spouses and more. It’s nice to reach out to them because we say in the Airmen’s Creed, ‘Never leave an Airman behind’,” he said. “That pulls at the heartstrings. If we leave people behind, we aren’t holding to our values.”

Farley said he is working hard in his section to help it reach its goal. Through deployments he met Airmen based at Tyndall AFB, Florida, where Hurricane Michael created such devastation to the base and its community last October.

“They had to reach out to the Air Force Aid Society for assistance because of the hurricane. That’s why the AFAS is so important,” he said.

Airman 1st Class Ashley Bumgardner-Gaines, financial operations technician, 88th Comptroller Squadron, said she recognizes how important the ASAS is to Airmen.

“The Air Force Aid Society helps us. If I can help someone in need, that’s why I got involved,” she said.

While stationed at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, she knew several Airmen who hit on hard times and were able to get help from the ASAS.

“Always take into consideration that you may fall onto hard times yourself,” she advised. “While you’re at a place where you may be fortunate, others may not be. It’s good to be able to help out, and every little bit counts.”

Senior Airman Zhuo Jiang, financial operations technician, 88th CPTS, said she gained experience as a Combined Federal Campaign key worker last year and decided to use what she learned to benefit the AFAF.

“The Air Force Assistance Fund charities care about not only Airmen, but their families, too,” she said. “Those are good reasons to donate.”

The three organizations that benefit from the AFAF in addition to the Air Force Aid Society, the official charity of the Air Force, are:

• Air Force Village Fund, which provides widows or widowers of retired career Air Force officers with affordable living options;

• Air Force Enlisted Village Fund;

• General and Mrs. Curtis LeMay Foundation, which provides nationwide financial assistance to widows of all retired Air Force personnel.

Campaign workers are putting in great effort making contacts and telling the AFAF story, said Maj. Todd Brackett, installation project officer.

“We can absolutely use the help. We’re making progress but need more,” he said. “Giving up spending on one small thing per month could really help others.”

Civilians who wish to contribute to AFAF should contact their unit project officer.

Donations to the AFAF can be made by cash or check, and active-duty and retired members can use payroll deduction via completion of a form. Contributions to the AFAF may be tax deductible. More information is available at http://www.afassistancefund.org.

Contact a unit key worker/project officer or the installation project officers: Maj. Todd Brackett, todd.d.brackett.mil@mail.mil; 2nd Lt. Autumn Moreno, autumn.r.moreno.mil@mail.mil; and Master Sgt. Anna Garrett, anna.j.garrett.mil@mail.mil.