An Airman’s spouse donates part of her business’s profits to AFAS Jennifer Lehman and her husband, Technical Sergeant Richard Lehman, have been a part of the Air Force family for 18 years. Years ago, Jennifer was pregnant with their daughter while her husband was deployed. The Lehmans were going through a difficult time, but they didn’t have to go through it alone. The Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) always stands by Airmen when they’re in need, and AFAS was there to help the Lehmans through the rough patch. Later, AFAS again stood by the Lehmans when Jennifer had breast cancer. “When we fell on hard times, we received much-needed help,” she says as she looks back on the assistance. This is why Jennifer feels strongly about being a donor, giving back to the organization that has stood by her family more than once. Jennifer runs an online business selling goods, and a portion of every item that she sells goes to AFAS. “I will continue this with every item I sell online,” she states. Every piece Jennifer sells means assistance for an Airman who’s going through their own rough patch. The generosity that drives Jennifer to donate to AFAS is a part of the Lehman family core values. “My family is blessed, and giving back is a priority,” she explains.
A grant from AFAS allows an Airman to purchase resources for his son Master Sergeant Christopher Kelley joined the U.S. Air Force with hopes of being able to take care of his family while also having the ability to pursue his education. He has served in the U.S. Air Force for 18 years and has supported the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) throughout his military career. “Serving in the Air Force has been such a blessing for my family and me; we have been able to travel the world,” says MSgt Kelley. In response to the pandemic, AFAS developed the Virtual Schooling Grant to help Air Force families with expenses by providing $250 to offset virtual schooling costs for dependents in grades K through 12. MSgt Kelley applied and received the grant. He used the funds to purchase essential school supplies for his son that he and his wife hadn’t budgeted for and were now faced with buying to accommodate his son’s new online environment. “By not having to stretch our budget to purchase unexpected school supplies, it took the financial burden off our shoulders and enabled a seamless transition,” he says. “No matter your rank or current status, never be afraid or ashamed to utilize resources such as AFAS as they are designed to help you and your family
An Airman sees first-hand how AFAS helps the Air Force family Growing up with a father as an Airman, Major Kevin Gore loved meeting new people and learning new cultures. When Maj Gore took an aviation course in high school, he was inspired by his teacher to consider a career in the military. With encouragement from his parents, Maj Gore applied to the United States Air Force Academy. With his father’s long service as an Airman, Maj Gore received a presidential nomination, beginning his career in the Air Force. Maj Gore is proud of his service, and he’s proud to be an Airman. For him, it means “an instant connection and willingness to help others in ‘the family.’ ” When Maj Gore was a Captain at Moody Air Force Base in 1992, he saw the younger members of his Air Force family struggle to make ends meet. Contacting the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) on behalf of these young Airmen, AFAS helped relieve some of their financial burdens during the holidays. Maj Gore saw first-hand that AFAS was a worthy charity. Years later, AFAS was there to help the Gore family. The Gores have six children from ages 18-30, which has meant many college tuition bills over the years. Sometimes there was a shortage of funds, and the Gores had
AFAS Virtual Schooling Grant provides a sense of relief during the pandemic Senior Airman Pamela Poirier joined the Air Force to complete her education and to provide stability for her son. Her Air Force experience has been slightly challenging since she and her son has had to move away from family. “I didn’t have my parent’s support, but I quickly formed a family within my unit that I knew I could depend on,” says SrA Poirier. “No matter the challenges you face, you can always find a family within your unit or base that’ll be there for you, support, and guide you,” she says. She heard about the Air Force Aid Society from a coworker who had applied for an emergency assistance no-interest loan. Due to the pandemic, her significant other lost his job, and her family’s income shifted from a dual-income household to a single-income household. Air Force Aid Society’s Virtual Schooling Grant could not have come at a better time because she needed help to pay for her son’s school supplies. In response to the pandemic, AFAS developed the Virtual Schooling Grant to help Air Force families with expenses by providing $250 to offset virtual schooling costs for dependents in grades K through 12. SrA Poirier applied and received the grant. “AFAS is for Airmen, no matter the
A veteran sees how AFAS strengthens Air Force families Casandra Dawson’s grandfather is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and he was a major reason why she decided to join the Air Force. Along with serving her country, Casandra wanted to “establish a strong foundation that would help in my pursuit of educational and professional goals,” she states. Casandra served in the Air Force for nine years before separating so that she could provide stability and consistency to her three children. The Air Force continues to be a big part of her life. Her husband is an active duty Senior Master Sergeant, and now Casandra works as a community programs assistant at the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia. Over the years, the Dawsons have learned the importance of taking care of Airmen and their families, “and this is why we love and appreciate the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS). Because it’s a service that takes care of our Airmen!” Casandra explains. Calling them the “backbone” of the Air Force family, Casandra says AFAS strengthens Airmen. Casandra has seen first-hand how AFAS takes care of its own. In fact, she’s benefited from its assistance more than once. When she was an Airman First Class, Casandra’s grandpa passed away in Guam when she was stationed
AFAS has been there for Airmen for 78 years Airmen are often miles away from their family, whether it’s in another state or in a different country. If an emergency comes up with a loved one, Airmen may not have the extra money for a last-minute ticket or travel arrangements. The Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) is always ready to help, ensuring Airmen can be with their loved ones when they need to. Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Adams saw this first-hand when he was the Commander of the 728th Air Mobility Squadron in Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. In 2018, a young Staff Sergeant walked into the First Sergeant’s office clearly distraught. The Staff Sergeant’s father had been admitted to the hospital, and he was not expected to live much longer. The First Sergeant arranged for the Staff Sergeant to leave on a military flight that evening. “Unfortunately, Joint Travel Regulation authorized funding for emergency travel wasn’t enough to cover the Staff Sergeant’s flights after he landed in the States,” Lt Col Adams recalls. The flight from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to his hometown would more than drain his bank account. Fortunately, AFAS stepped in quickly, allowing the Staff Sergeant to make it home where he was by his father’s side as he passed away. “While his grief was immense,”