AFAF helps in time of need

by 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Senior leaders and key personnel from Ramstein attended this year’s Air Force Assistance Fund “Sharing four Caring” campaign kickoff Monday.

The goal of the kickoff was to raise support for four charitable affiliates that provide assistance to Air Force families in need.

The event allowed one Airman to speak about her experience with the fund and how it helped her throughout her life.

“One of my first experiences with the Air Force Aid Society was before I even joined the military,” said Tech. Sgt. Tabatha Bennett, 1st Combat Communications Squadron wing communication security manager. “I was living with my husband in Turkey where he was stationed, and we received a call that his father was diagnosed with brain cancer. We knew we had to fly to California but at the time we didn’t have enough money so we looked into the AFAS and through them we received an interest-free loan to pay for the plane tickets.”

Years later Bennett and her husband would undergo another tragic time in their life where they would need financial assistance.

“After I just joined the Air Force we received news that I was pregnant,” Bennett said. “Of course it was a joyous time in our life but during the pregnancy we had lost the baby. Still having to deliver, we were emotionally drained and with no money for a burial service we didn’t know what to do.

“Then we got a call from my first sergeant at the time saying he had talked with the AFAS and they were going to give us $5,000 to pay for everything,” Bennett continued. “It’s impossible to express how thankful we are for everything they have done for us throughout our lives.”

All the organizations of AFAF focus on different ways to assist Air Force members and their families. Whether helping widows during times of financial crisis or paying for a plane ticket home during emotional turmoil, AFAF is there to help lighten the burden for those in need.

“It’s as simple as taking care of our own,” said Capt. Lyka Olsen, 86th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst and AFAF installation campaign project officer. “It is a great opportunity to be a part of something big that could affect every Airman in the Air Force.”

The four charitable affiliates that Airmen can donate to are:

• Air Force Aid Society, which provides emergency assistance to Airmen and their families, and sponsors education and quality of life programs in communities.

• Air Force Enlisted Village, which provides homes for surviving spouses of retired enlisted Airmen.

• Air Force Villages, a retirement community that cares for retired Air Force officer widows who need financial assistance.

• The Gen. and Mrs. Curtis LeMay Foundation, which awards grants to retired Airmen and their spouses in financial need.

The campaign runs until April. 11. For information, contact your unit’s AFAF representative or visit