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Taking care of our own

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, BILOXI, MISS. -- This week marks the start of Keesler's Air Force Assistance Fund campaign. This is not to be confused with the fall's Combined Federal Campaign, which does an incredible amount of great things for charities across our community and across our nation. Rather, the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign is targeted at Airmen helping Airmen. 

The Air Force Assistance Fund was established to provide for an annual effort to raise funds for the charitable affiliates that provide support to the Air Force family (active duty, retirees, reservists, guard and their dependents, including surviving spouses) in need. 

These organizations are the Air Force Village Foundation, the Air Force Aid Society, Inc., the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation and the Air Force Enlisted Village, Inc. 

Information is available at http://www.afassistancefund.org 

These organizations help Air Force people with aid in an emergency, with educational needs, or to have a secure retirement home for widows or widowers of Air Force members in need of financial assistance. 

I urge each Airman to make the time to review the background on these organizations and make an informed decision on how you can help. In these tough economic times, there are many fellow Airmen as well as retirees, widowed spouses and families that need our help. For many, the assistance they receive from the AFAF is the principal source of help they will receive. Every gift ... regardless of how small ... is very significant. 

Who benefits from your donation? It could be the indigent widow of a retired Airman who needs your help to stay housed and fed. It could be a fellow Airman who is in the midst of a financial crisis and needs some help. It could even be the victim of a hurricane who needs a cash grant to get back on their feet after the storm. Sound familiar? I'll bet you have heard of or know somebody who falls into one of these categories or who has benefited from this great program! As an Air Force family, it is important we take care of each other. Great wingmen always do! Big or small, each gift makes a difference to the fellow Airman who needs help. Frankly, I hope that each Airman on this base ... and those who have retired yet still are Airmen ... finds it within their means to contribute during this year's campaign. Yes, you read this right...even retirees can contribute! Retirees can contribute through a one-time gift of cash or check or by payroll deduction from their retired pay. You see, we are all part of the Air Force family and families take care of each other! Keesler has been a huge beneficiary of this program and now's a great time for each Airman to reload the AFAF so it can continue its worthy causes. I challenge each Airman to give something ... no gift is too small ... every dollar is important! On behalf of your fellow wingmen, thanks for the assist!