Staff Sgt. Antonio Chavis Jr., NCOIC/commander support staff, emergency management, 788th Civil Engineer Squadron, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is serving as an Air Force Assistance Fund campaign unit project officer because of a loan he received 10 years ago. (Skywrighter photo/Amy Rollins)

Loan allows Airman to show off baby to far-away family

Staff Sgt. Antonio Chavis Jr. said a loan from the Air Force Aid Society 10 years ago when he was an Airman 1st Class wasn’t to help with something bad that had happened to his young family but rather for something good.

He and his wife wanted to let immediate family members see their baby son.

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Chavis, NCOIC/commander support staff, emergency management, 788th Civil Engineer Squadron, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, was stationed at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, at the time – a long way from his Shaker Heights/Cleveland, Ohio, home and his relatives. Purchasing three airline tickets was expensive, so he turned to the AFAS for help.

They did, and the loan was secured. Soon the family was on its way, and family members in Ohio enjoyed seeing them that holiday season.

Chavis’s loan was seamlessly paid back in installments over 10 months.

“It was such a help to us, and it was easy to pay back,” he said. “My family didn’t go through a hardship, but some do, and the Air Force Aid Society and the Air Force Assistance Fund are there for us all. Things happen – tires, cars, travel, illness – you never know. It’s beneficial for everyone.”

That is why Chavis said he wants to encourage the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base community to consider donating. He volunteered to serve as an AFAF campaign unit project officer so he could help support something that had benefited his family.

The three organizations that benefit from the fund in addition to AFAS 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.

With a theme of “Commitment to Caring,” the 46th annual AFAF campaign runs through May 17. The funds raised 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.

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 payroll deduction. 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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