By Scott Prater
The 2010 Air Force Assistance Fund kicked off April 12 here at Schriever. The fundraising campaign, which runs through May 7, is a program that benefits Air Force families in need, and is managed by Airmen at the local level.
An Air Force-wide program, the AFAF supports many charitable organizations including the Air Force Village Foundation, Inc., the Air Force Aid Society, Inc., the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, Inc. and the Air Force Enlisted Village Inc.
“Our local theme for the AFAF campaign is, ‘Come together helping Airmen,’” said Capt. Rhett Gasaway, installation project officer for the AFAF here. “What we want to convey is that everybody has different opportunities to contribute to different charities, but this is the one opportunity we have during the year to directly help our Air Force family members. It could be someone who is experiencing a financial emergency, or it could be dependents or widows of Air Force families who need help.”
Members from individual units are asked to lead the fundraising effort inside their respective units. Those unit representatives then keep track of donations and file contribution forms with 2nd Lt. Elizabeth DeJesus, the AFAF assistant installation project officer.
Lieutenant DeJesus and Captain Gasaway will track the base’s overall performance and post results weekly on a performance indicator near the intersection of Falcon Parkway and Enoch Road.
One of the unique features of the fund raising effort is it provides contributors with a choice of where their contributions will go.
Master Sgt. Gabriel Moreno, Airman and Family Readiness Center readiness NCO, regularly sees how the AFAS impacts local Airmen and their families through his work at the AFRC, but 10 years ago he experienced the benefits of the program first hand.
“The AFAS holds a special place in my heart because it really came through when I needed it,” Sergeant Moreno said. “It was a program I didn’t even know about 10 years ago.”
He was a single Airman with two toddler-aged children and was stationed at a base where he needed financial support to care for them.
“In the process I received a short-notice humanitarian assignment to another base and my mother stopped working to care for my kids,” he said. “So my mom had bills mounting up and I had bills mounting up. Ultimately, the AFAS came through for me by providing a loan which helped me pay her for eight weeks of day care service, helped us both catch up on our pending bills, and allowed me to start fresh in a new place. Eventually, that loan turned into a grant and I didn’t have to repay the loan.”
According to Captain Gasaway, some 70 percent of AFAF contributions are typically donated to the AFAS, but unit representatives will encourage contributors to consider each of the charities involved.
“Each Schriever member should receive an AFAF brochure that provides details for each charity involved in the program,” Lieutenant DeJesus said. “We recommend that members look through the brochure and take the time to consider which program they think needs funds the most.”
Schriever organizers have set an installation goal of raising $34,990.
Captain Gasaway said unit representatives hold a goal of contacting 100 percent of active duty members in their units and obtaining a 50 percent participation ratio, but he was careful to say the program is not exclusive to active duty military members.
“There has been some confusion in the past,” he said. “We want to make sure that everyone knows they can contribute if they wish to do so. They just need to contact our project officers.”
Last year, the AFAF fundraising effort at Schriever reached 91 percent of its goal.
To make a donation, or for more information contact your unit AFAF representative
50th Space Wing Representatives:
Capt. Rhett Gasaway (Primary)
2nd Lt. Elizabeth DeJesus (Assistant)
50th Operations Group Representatives:
1st Space Operations Squadron: 1st Lt. Travis Moyer and 2nd Lt. Jim Franciere
2 SOPS: 2nd Lt. George Anderson and 2nd Lt. Liam Conley
3 SOPS: Staff Sgt. Taylor Steckman and Capt. Rafael Galvez
4 SOPS: 1st Lt. Jon Ceser
50th Operations Group Front Office/OGV/OWTT:
1st Lt. Christine Pasun and
Capt. Rusty Mardis
50th Network Operations Group Representatives:
Capt. Mikel Roberts
50th Space Communication Squadron:
2nd Lt. Christine Shuttlesworth (Primary)
and Senior Airman David Bennett (Alternate)
Capt. Christine Roebuck
50th Mission Support Group Unit Representatives
50th Mission Support Group:
Master Sgt. Gabriel Moreno
50th Contracting Squadron:
Staff Sgt. Lucas Dahlman (Primary)
Airman 1st Class Nicholas Rogers (Alternate)
Airman 1st Class Gordon Burton (Alternate)
50th Civil Engineer Squadron:
Tech. Sgt. Brian Dejong (Primary)
and Tech. Sgt. John Muehlhausen (Alternate)
50th Security Forces Squadron:
Senior Airman Leandreas Allen (Primary)
and Senior Airman Jessica Hay (Alternate)
50th Logistics Readiness Flight:
Tech. Sgt. Heather Abney (Primary)
and Staff Sgt. Jesse Roberge (Alternate)
50th Force Support Squadron:
Staff Sgt. Michelle Yourdon (Primary)
and Senior Airman Justin Bernal (Alternate)
Mission Partner Representatives
Space Innovation and Development Center:
2nd Lt. Dominica Herring
595th Space Group:
Capt. Earl Chang
Plans, Programs and Requirements (XR):
Advanced Space Operations School:
Capt. Steven Cruz
3rd Space Experimentation Squadron:
Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Schlabs (Primary)
and Tech. Sgt. Jason Kuciemba (Alternate)
25th Space Range Squadron:
Staff Sgt. Ryan Strauss
17th Test Squadron:
Tech Sgt. Glenn Wooten (Primary)
and Tech. Sgt. John Neary (Alternate)
Tech. Sgt. Paul Czosnowski
Capt. Arley Marx
Staff Sgt. Joey Prins
Capt. Anthony Tydingco