By Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado — Circumstances can change suddenly, and when they do, finding help can be a challenge to say the least. When life’s situations throw a curveball, the Air Force Assistance Fund is there to help pick up the slack.
The Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign kicked off March 2 and continues through April 10. The campaign is an annual, on-the-job fundraising appeal conducted among Air Force personnel benefitting Air Force personnel. The fundraising goal for Peterson Air Force Base is $81,189.
Master Sgt. Pamela Condon, 21st Space Wing Staff Agencies, is the installation project officer for the campaign. Her involvement goes beyond administration to personal experience.
“As an Airman I was a user of the Air Force Assistance Fund,” she said.
Condon’s story is one familiar to many people. She was a young airman first class who just had a baby. She was stationed in Germany and her vehicle needed a mandatory inspection. The news was troubling.
“I needed four new tires and I didn’t have the money,” Condon explained. “My supervisor took me to the Airman and Family Readiness Center and we checked the Air Force Assistance Fund. I was stressing out; I had to get tires.”
Condon received assistance in the form of about $240 for the tires, help that put her mind at rest and allowed her not only to drive, but to drive safely with her newborn.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but let me tell you 23 years ago as an Airman with a brand new baby and a single mom overseas, it was a lot,” she said. “It meant the world to me.”
Her case is not unusual. Now, a couple of decades later, Condon is glad to be able to give back to her fellow Airmen.
“One thing I really like is it’s kind of like giving back to ourselves. You may not use it, but as a supervisor it is good to be able to help like my supervisor was able to help me,” she said.
This year the campaign theme is Commitment to Caring. In his memo to Team Pete, Col. John Shaw, 21st Space Wing commander, said the theme captures the proud heritage of the Air Force in providing a way to help fellow Airmen when the help is most needed.
The typical Air Force base gets roughly 19-30 percent participation from active-duty Airmen, according to Shaw’s memo, but he said members of Team Pete are above average. The installation goal is 25 percent unit participation. Further, he stated that paying it forward now may result in assistance from Air Force charities being available in the future should they be needed.
AFAF campaign contributions are channeled into four fund affiliate programs: Air Force Village, Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Enlisted Village, and the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation. Each has a specific role in assisting Airmen and their families.
Air Force Aid Society is the official charity of the U.S. Air Force and provides emergency loans, scholarships, PCS child care, spouse employment program and many other resources.. Air Force Villages is a retirement community for widows of retired Air Force officers. Air Force Enlisted Villages provide a safe, dignified place for indigent surviving spouses of retired Air Force personnel and helps people with insufficient retirement income. The General and Mrs. LeMay Foundation provides aid to widows of all Air Force retirees through financial grants.
For information on the AFAF campaign contact Condon at 556-2106 or Master Sgt. Jennifer Moss at 556-4462.