Assistance from AFAS allowed an Airman to breathe easier

Staff Sergeant Kayla Gonzalez was introduced to the military culture through her aunt and uncle, who both retired from the Air Force. She then developed a passion for serving, and she knew that she wanted to belong to a family that only the Air Force could give her.

After starting her own family as a young Airman, SSgt Gonzalez was at her first duty station when she and her husband hit a rough patch both financially and personally. Trying to balance caring for their two-year-old child, a car payment, rent and other bills, SSgt Gonzalez felt trapped by all of the stress.

Always there for fellow Airmen and Guardians, SSgt Gonzalez’s First Sergeant told her about the assistance programs available through the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS). To her relief, SSgt Gonzalez received a Falcon loan, an expedited, no-interest loan for financial emergencies.

The loan helped SSgt Gonzalez stay afloat, letting her catch up financially and budget for the future. “It was like I could breathe again because I knew my son and I were going to be okay,” she recalls.

In addition to taking control of her budget, the assistance allowed SSgt Gonzalez to be “an attentive Airman,” letting her focus on her job and the mission instead of her finances.

Grateful for the Society’s generous donors and their “selfless contributions,” SSgt Gonzalez doesn’t know what she would have done without AFAS during her time of need. “We have awesome support systems,” she tells other Airmen and Guardians. “It is okay not to be okay and to ask for help. Don’t ever be ashamed,” she says.

Through the ups and downs of serving for almost 12 years, SSgt Gonzalez still finds it rewarding. “To put on this uniform every day reminds me that I am one of the lucky few who gets to serve in the world’s greatest Air Force,” she explains. “I take pride in that.”

After being close to divorce when she sought assistance, SSgt Gonzalez proudly shares that she and her husband are still married after almost 13 years, and they now have three children. “We couldn’t be happier!”

Incorporated in 1942, the Air Force Aid Society continues to meet the unique needs of Airmen and Guardians. AFAS works to support and enhance the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force missions by providing emergency financial assistance, educational support, and community programs to Air Force and Space Force families. In 2022, AFAS provided over $12.5 million in assistance to more than 17,000 Air Force and Space Force families. Visit to learn more, apply for assistance, or to donate.