Annual charitable fundraising campaign picking up steam at Wright-Patt

2nd Lt. Autumn Moreno, Master Sgt. Anna Garrett and Maj. Todd Brackett (left to right) are coordinating the 46th annual Air Force Assistance Fund campaign at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Moreno understands the importance of the funds as she received assistance from the Air Force Aid Society when she was a young Airman and suddenly needed a plane ticket to get home after a family member died. (Skywrighter photo/Amy Rollins)

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2nd Lt. Autumn Moreno, Master Sgt. Anna Garrett and Maj. Todd Brackett (left to right) are coordinating the 46th annual Air Force Assistance Fund campaign at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Moreno understands the importance of the funds as she received assistance from the Air Force Aid Society when she was a young Airman and suddenly needed a plane ticket to get home after a family member died. (Skywrighter photo/Amy Rollins)

One of the project installation officers for this year’s Air Force Assistance Fund campaign at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has been a direct beneficiary of one of the four charities it supports, and she wants other service members and the base community to understand why the campaign is so deserving of support.

With a theme of “Commitment to Caring,” the 46th annual AFAF campaign runs through April 26. The campaign raises funds for AFAF-affiliated charities that assist active-duty, Reserve, Guard and retired Air Force personnel and their families, said Maj. Todd Brackett, installation project officer. This year’s goal for the base is set at $126,903.

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Airmen have the option to donate to one or more of the four AFAF charities: Air Force Village Charitable Foundation, the Air Force Aid Society, the Air Force Enlisted Village and the Gen. and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation.

2nd Lt. Autumn Moreno, one of the installation project officers, is an example of why the campaign is so important.

“I was an enlisted one-striper in 2001, straight out of Phase II of training at Keesler AFB in Mississippi to be a laboratory technician when my nephew died, and I got a loan the next day for the $800 plane ticket to my home in Houlton, Maine,” she said. “It was nice and really fast. I paid back some of it in installments, but part of the debt was forgiven. It was a huge help.”

Moreno said she wanted to pay back what she could so other Airmen could benefit from the helping fund.

A more recent example of the assistance fund helping Airmen can be found at Tyndall AFB, Florida, where Hurricane Michael caused so much destruction and personal hardships.

According to the AFAF website, more than 3,400 Airmen were assigned to Tyndall AFB when the hurricane hit, and many were left without a home and in great need. For the thousands of Air Force active duty, retirees, Guard and Reservists who were stationed in or near the hardest hit areas of the Florida panhandle, the Air Force Aid Society provided $6.5 million in emergency assistance grants. Air Force Enlisted Village collected over $64,000 in monetary donations, $56,000 in Amazon/Target registries, $31,500 in commissary vendors’ donations, and $147,000 in essential goods; the LeMay foundation assisted the retired community in the area.

That very real help is sorely needed everywhere.

“We build upon the success of the others who came before us,” Brackett said. “We’re taking care of those who served in the past and laid the groundwork – they are part of our extended community, and we’re also taking care of the present.

“The Air Force did not get to be the way it is without these people, who now need our support,” he said. “They sacrificed for us.”

Garrett said she is honored to be part of the foundation “that allows people to help our own. It’s important to have that fallback, especially as a senior NCO. We can draw on that fund to help our Airmen.”

At Wright-Patt, key workers are being identified currently, and Moreno is serving as the trainer, Brackett said. Look for more information during commander’s calls and other forms of communication, he advised.

Although there is a large civilian population at Wright-Patterson AFB, civilians cannot be solicited for donations but are invited to contribute. 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 utilize the convenience of 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.

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