Linda and John Egentowich retired from the Air Force with a combined 58 years of service, and they credit the Air Force for being a big part of shaping who they are today. As a way to “pay it forward,” the couple established a named grant to benefit the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS). “The Air Force is family, and it’s a responsibility to support family when you have the means and desires to do so,” John explains on why they established the grant.
Both Linda and John knew about AFAS during their service through the annual Air Force Assistance Fund (AFAF), but they gained a better appreciation for the organization as squadron and group commanders, referring Airmen to AFAS when they needed financial assistance.
Linda’s full appreciation of the organization came after joining the AFAS headquarters staff in 2010. That’s when she learned the full scope of the Society. “Education and community programs, as well as support after major disasters, were often overshadowed by the emergency assistance program,” Linda explains.
John also has personal experience with AFAS’s education grants, which allowed his daughters to graduate from college without debt.
A named education grant was fitting for the Egentowiches because “we believe education is a foundation towards future successes,” they say. Feeling blessed and fortunate to be able to create a named grant, the couple looks forward to seeing the results. Linda and John also named AFAS in their will “because we believe in sharing our blessings and leaving a legacy,” the couple says.
Linda and John’s generous donation is aimed at providing two things for future Airmen: financial assistance to help achieve a higher education, and a financial lifeline or safety net for Airmen and their families to help with unexpected financial emergencies. They hope this will help them “recover without causing long-term setbacks to their personal finances.”
In addition to these two goals, John and Linda hope that Airmen who receive assistance will in turn help others when they’re able to, benefitting the following generation.
The couple encourages anyone who doesn’t know about the many ways in which AFAS can support fellow Airmen to visit their website, www.afas.org. From there, you can read stories about how donations directly impact Airmen’s lives during their time of need. “Your donations make a dramatic and positive difference in people’s lives,” says Linda.
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 2020, AFAS provided over $12.5 million in assistance to more than $26,000 Air Force and Space Force families. Visit www.afas.org to learn more, apply for assistance, or to donate.