Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Assistance fund supports Airmen, young and old

By Lea Johnson

21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Airmen at Peterson are familiar with being good wingmen, not only to their peers, but to Airmen across the Air Force they may not know.

One way Airmen can give to the Air Force community is by donating to the Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign, which kicks-off March 26 and will run until May 4.

Master Sgt. Rick Renzi, Airman Leadership School commandant and AFAF installation project manager, said, “The reason why I would give to this is for the simple reason that at any one time, you have no idea what emergency might come up.”

Within the AFAF Campaign, there are four organizations to donate.

The Air Force Aid Society is the official charity of the Air Force. It provides funds for emergency loans, scholarships, Give Parents a Break, the Phone Home program, and many other programs.

The Air Force Village and Air Force Enlisted Village provide a retirement community for the surviving spouses of officers and enlisted members who may not otherwise have sufficient funds for care. The Air Force Village also extends their facilities to the retired officer, their parents, or grandparents, and the Air Force Enlisted Village accepts retired enlisted members and their spouses.

The Gen. and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay foundation believes that military spouses are entitled to a certain standard of living and helps widows of all Air Force retirees with grants of assistance.

This year the goal for the 21st Space Wing and mission partners is to raise $91,301, Renzi said.

The number seems big, especially in these challenging economic times. “We’re not asking for people to give more, we’re just asking for more people to give,” Renzi said.

In 2011, the AFAF contributed more than $156,000 in grant and loan assistance to members of the wing. Airmen may not realize it at the time, Renzi said, but their contributions are going to help people they know.

Donations can be made two ways, Renzi said. First is a one-time contribution. The second way is a payroll deduction plan. “You can have a set amount taken out (of your paycheck) over the course of 12 months,” he said.

To be eligible for the PDP, members must be able to have at least three months of deductions from their account.

All active duty military members and retirees will be contacted by their unit project officer about making a donation, Renzi said. Civilian employees and contractors cannot be solicited, but if they wish to donate, their contribution will be graciously accepted.

“We lose sight sometimes of the bigger picture and we only see what’s in front of us at the time and say, ‘I’m never going to need that,’” Renzi said. “I think it’s important that you sit back and reflect on what might happen, what could happen.”

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