AFAS helped an Airman’s wife and daughter attend college

Retired Master Sergeant Robert Hernandez joined the Air Force when he was 17. He left for Basic Military Training just nine days after graduating high school “to see the world outside of a small Texas town,” his daughter Daniella recalls. MSgt Hernandez hoped that the Air Force would let him see the world and allow him the opportunity to have a great career.

The Air Force not only provided MSgt Hernandez with a long career, it also helped his wife and daughter achieve their higher education dreams with assistance from the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS).

When Daniella was seven, her mother attended Boise State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The family lived at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, and her mother commuted to the university to attend class, over an hour each way.

Eventually, Daniella’s mother applied for the General Henry (Hap) Arnold Education Grant, the centerpiece of AFAS education support. The grant eased the burden of the expensive commute and helped to offset her tuition costs. 

When it was Daniella’s turn to attend college 12 years later, AFAS again supported the Hernandez family. Danielle applied for and received the Hap Arnold Education Grant for three years in addition to a recent interest-free loan to help Air Force families impacted by COVID-19.

Daniella says the loan allowed her to attend “the university of my dreams,” Texas A&M, College Station, TX. She also was able to reduce the hours she worked at a part-time job and increase her hours focusing on her studies.

The support from AFAS “has been a blessing to my mother and now to me,” Daniella says. Daniella’s mother went on to have a successful career in both the Air Force and the Army in the healthcare profession. Now, Daniella can see herself finishing her degree and maybe even following in her mother’s footsteps, working in the Air Force as a civilian health professional. 

On behalf of her family, Daniella sincerely thanks everyone who donates to AFAS. According to Daniella, “It’s because of these generous individuals that so many people can overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.”

The Air Force Aid Society is the official charity of the U.S. Air Force and has been meeting the unique needs of Airmen and their families since 1942. AFAS works to support and enhance the USAF mission by providing emergency financial assistance, educational support, and community programs.  Since 2008, AFAS has provided more than $215 million in direct support to Air Force families. Visit to learn more, apply for assistance or to donate.