During the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign, it is important to remember how much the support from these programs affects the lives of our Airmen and their families.
Below is a story of how the Air Force Aid Society, one of the AFAF affiliates, had a very positive impact on Tech. Sgt. Ethan K. Meldrom, 1st Combat Communications Squadron. This is just one of the many situations that the AFAF has allowed the Air Force to take care of its own.
The AFAF means a lot to me. When I needed help, they came to my rescue.
I enlisted in the Air Force in 1996. At the time, I had been married for five years and had three young children. I earned enough to cover my day-to-day needs, but unexpected expenses sometimes arose.
During the first years of my career, I asked for help from the Air Force Aid Society on two occasions.
My first need arose as I arrived at my first assignment in Wyoming. I was not able to move my young family into base housing and had to find an off-base house. At the time, we could not afford the security deposit. We were referred to the Air Force Aid Society by my first sergeant.
My wife and I visited with Will Stell, the Air Force aid coordinator. We applied for assistance and were given a loan to meet our expenses.
The loan was given interest-free with a payback period that I could afford.
Thus, I was able to move into a home with assistance from one of the organizations supported by the AFAF.
Nearly a year later, I once again needed financial assistance. My son, who was 16 months old at the time, had to have dental surgery.
Due to a heart condition, he needed anesthesia for which the cost was not
covered by the military dental plan. So, I visited once again with Mr. Stell and told
him of my dilemma.
At that occasion, I was given a grant to pay for the anesthesia. I did not have to pay back the grant. My son got his dental work performed and my family was relieved from a financial burden.
Fortunately, I have not needed assistance since that time.
So, when the AFAF campaign comes around each year, I take great pleasure in contributing.
Have I ever missed the monthly amount I have given to them? Not at all.
Could I have survived financially without the AFAF charities earlier in my career? Definitely not.
(Courtesy of 435th Mission Support Squadron)