Only two weeks are left in the 45th 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 for AFAF-affiliated charities that assist active-duty, Reserve, Guard and retired Air Force personnel and their families until May 18.
One of the installation project officers said he wants to encourage the base population to get engaged in the campaign.
“We are hearing Air Force-wide that we are seeing a decrease in donations this year, yet there are also bases that are not only meeting their goals – they are exceeding their goals,” said 2nd Lt. Thatcher Hallock. “We are consistently seeing squadrons coming in each week with large donations, so there are people out there giving. We can still get a really big push these last few weeks.
“I want to encourage everyone to consider donating to this great cause, especially because this fund is all about us taking care of each other,” he said.
In 2017, Wright-Patterson Airmen contributed $130,256.17; this year’s campaign goal is $122,986.
Participation by pledging, outright gifts or joining in a fundraiser are all good ways to support the campaign, Hallock said.
Airmen have the option to donate to one or more of the four AFAF charities: the Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Village Charitable Foundation, Air Force Enlisted Village, and the Gen. and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation.
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Howell, AFAF unit representative for the 771st Enterprise Sourcing Squadron, said his unit supports the campaign “because it is for a good cause, including the Air Force Aid Society. They really give back to all Airmen, regardless of rank.”
He described a situation encountered by his supervisor when she suffered a death in her family. She was given a grant by the AFAS to attend the funeral.
The AFAS also provides no-interest loans that can be repaid by small deductions from pay – another great service to Airmen, Howell said.
Hallock was told by a staff sergeant in his unit of a time when his car broke down and he didn’t have the money to fix it and needed his car to get to work. A loan from the AFAS came to the rescue.
“This is a fantastic campaign. It directly affects us Airmen,” he noted. “It’s not going to some organization far away; it is helping out the Airmen we work with every day.”
Second Lt. Odis Tucci Jr., 88th Air Base Wing auditor for the AFAF campaign, said he volunteered to work on the campaign.
“At a MAJCOM base like Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, with 27,000 personnel, we have an abnormal opportunity to make a huge impact in a lot of Airmen’s lives,” he said, “whether it is retirees or an Airman whose car breaks down. We are in a unique situation where we can help a lot more people than other bases.”
Tucci said he wanted to encourage unit project officers to solicit positive stories and feedback.
“I’ve been in the Air Force for 16 years, and we’ve all encountered Airmen at some point who needed the help. When you’re in a struggle, the last thing you want to stress about is money,” he said. “If you can help an Airman, why not?”
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.
For more information, contact a unit project officer or the installation project officers: Hallock, 937-257-0770; or Master Sgt. Jerry Fondren, 937-257-0493. Additional information on AFAF is available online at www.afassistancefund.org.
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