An Airman’s spouse gives back to Airmen and finds herself returning an old favor
When Jennifer Burns and her family moved to Dover Air Force Base (AFB), she was looking for some work outside of the home that offered flexibility for her schedule. She decided that volunteering would be a good fit, and she has been a volunteer receptionist at the Dover Airman and Family Readiness Center ever since.
As a receptionist, Jennifer may be the first person an Airman or family member sees or talks to when visiting the Readiness Center. She has heard all types of emergencies from those who need help when the unexpected happens. Many families don’t have money budgeted for such events, so they come to the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS).
Jennifer feels great responsibility when people come to her seeking assistance, especially when it’s needed quickly. “It’s rewarding to know that we were able to help them in what could have been a crisis situation,” she says.
Her experience is not just as a volunteer with AFAS. Jennifer previously participated in the Air Force’s Heart Link program for new military spouses. From learning the rank insignias on uniforms to understanding the vocabulary and acronyms of everyday military talk, Jennifer found great value in the Air Force’s Heart Link Program in helping her acclimate to her new life as military spouse early on.
Jennifer also remembers the spouse who taught Heart Link at her previous station, as someone who made her feel knowledgeable and empowered. In true military fashion, they ran into each other again a few years later when her friend had just relocated to Jennifer’s current station in Dover. Here, Jennifer found an opportunity to mentor, showing her old friend around the new base and helping her get acclimated in the Air Force community.
Appreciative of the information she received while attending Heart Link, which AFAS supports with funding, Jennifer is more than happy when she can return the favor to Airmen and spouses alike.
Reminding people that the Society is there for all military members, Jennifer explains that “any military member on any base” can walk in and ask for help, and then receive the assistance they need. For her location at Dover AFB, Jennifer helps active duty Air Force, retired Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve personnel who are eligible. Additionally, in accordance with the reciprocal agreement between the military relief societies, she also helps service members from other branches of service with various assistance requests.
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 www.afas.org to learn more, apply for assistance or to donate.