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Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign begins

Brig. Gen. Robert P. Steel, 48th Fighter Wing commander signs a pledge to the Air Force Assistance Fund Monday at the begining of the campaign's open season as Command Chief Master Sgt. Jerry K. Sutton looks on. The AFAF campaign will be ongoing thorough April 29. (US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erika Brooke)

Brig. Gen. Robert P. Steel, 48th Fighter Wing commander signs a pledge to the Air Force Assistance Fund Monday at the begining of the campaign's open season as Command Chief Master Sgt. Jerry K. Sutton looks on. The AFAF campaign will be ongoing thorough April 29. (US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erika Brooke)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- In a culture where there is an everyday word for watching out for one another - Wingman -- it's not surprising programs like Air Force Aid Society and the Enlisted Village Indigent Widows fund exist.

Monday marked the first day of the Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign at RAF Lakenheath. The campaign supports four aid organizations -- the Air Force Aid Society, General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation and Air Force Enlisted Village Indigent Widows and Village Indigent Widow's Funds.

"No one ever wants to be in the situation to use one of these funds," said RAF Lakenheath AFAF Campaign officer Capt. Scott Major, "but it happens to all of us sometimes, and it's important that we take care of each other and have the assistance available if it is needed."

The Liberty Wing set a goal to raise just under $69,000, contributing to the overall Air Force goal of $5.3 million. Other objectives include 100 percent contact by the end of the second week of the six-week campaign.

The 34-year strong campaign focuses on supporting Active duty, Reserve, Guard and retired Air Force members who are victims of natural disasters, or who are faced with personal hardships from deployments, accidents, illness, aging or death.

"We've all heard of these funds, but not many of us know where the money for them comes from," said Captain Major.

Lakenheath Air Force Aid Society officer, Sally Corey agrees, "A lot of people I work with think the funds are an entitlement. In reality the program is a non-profit organization interest in just doing the right thing by Air Force members."

Besides making contact with all Liberty warriors to raise funds, Captain Major and other project officers plan on using additional fund raising methods, such as car washes, bake sales, fun runs and more to help achieve the wing's goal.

With the funds raised from the campaign the foundations are able to carry out their Wingman missions each year.

Air Force Enlisted Village
The Air Force Enlisted Village is dedicated to providing housing for widowed spouses of retired military members. Due to frequent military moves, many spouses are left without careers, home equities, retirement plans or any significant assets. For more information visit; http://www.afenlistedwidows.org/.

Air Force Village
For retired and honorably separated officers of any uniformed service, age 62 and over, the Air Force Village offers active living communities. To learn more about the organization founded in 1964 visit, http://www.airforcevillages.com/index.html.

Air Force Aid Society
Established in 1942 the Army Air Forces Relief Society, or Air Force Aid Society as it is today called, is the Air Force's official charity. Based on the concept of Airmen helping Airmen this fund offers assistance to Airmen and their families faced with emergency situations through grants or interest free loans. The society also sponsors educational assistance programs. Programs such as Give Parents a Break, Bundles for Babies and Phone Home are also funded by the AFAS. To learn more about the Air Force Aid Society visit, http://www.afas.org/index.cfm.

General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation
The General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation provides financial assistance to widows of all retired Air Force personnel. The fund provides all assistance as grants based on the fact the widows served with their husbands in the Air Force through to retirement and deserve to live out their lives in comfort and dignity. For more information visit; http://www.afvw.com/lemay.html.

For more information or a list of squadron project officers visit, https://48fw.lakenheath.af.mil/C5/C1/Air%20Force%20Assistance%20Fund/default.aspx?Mode=View.