Assistance during COVID-19 let an Airman’s children stay connected

While Technical Sergeant Steven Soto had planned to join the Air Force as a teenager, he waited until he was 22 years old, tired of his job. Twelve years later of active duty, “I love having the ability to help people every day,” TSgt Soto states. “I love being a part of the Air Force and will continue to serve until they force me to leave,” he insists.

As much as TSgt Soto loves helping the people he works with, he knows that his fellow Airmen are there for him as well. This includes the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS), whose mission is to take care of its own.

“As an interim First Sergeant, I have referred many members who were in dire straits to AFAS,” TSgt Soto states. Recently, the Technical Sergeant turned to AFAS to help his own family.

When the pandemic began in 2020, TSgt Soto’s children started virtual learning, like many kids. Knowing that many Air Force and Space Force families faced extra expenses because of the pandemic, AFAS offered new COVID-19 assistance programs.

Through the new programs, the Sotos received a grant to offset some of the costs of virtual learning. It also helped alleviate the financial stress the family was already experiencing as a single-income household. “AFAS is there for the hard times,” TSgt Soto begins, “and when you feel like you have nowhere else to turn.”

The grant provided the technology needed to continue online education. Perhaps more importantly, during pandemic shutdowns and social distancing, because of the assistance, TSgt Soto’s kids were able to keep much-needed connections with their teachers because of the assistance they received from AFAS.

For that, TSgt Soto is grateful for the Society and its generous donors.

“Thank you for helping to change the lives of service members in some of their darkest and hardest moments of their lives,” he says.

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 2021, AFAS provided over $13.5 million in assistance to more than 19,000 Air Force and Space Force families. Visit www.afas.org to learn more, apply for assistance, or to donate.