AFAF helps raise money for Airmen in need

1st Lt. Corey Fox, Master Sgt. Darryl Lyles and 2nd Lt. Brittany Oxley discuss Air Force Assistance Fund campaign preparations at the Tijeras Arroyo Golf Course.  The campaign kicks off March 28 with a burger burn at Marquez Park.

1st Lt. Corey Fox, Master Sgt. Darryl Lyles and 2nd Lt. Brittany Oxley discuss Air Force Assistance Fund campaign preparations at the Tijeras Arroyo Golf Course. The campaign kicks off March 28 with a burger burn at Marquez Park.

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Two months ago, Master Sgt. Darryl Lyles learned the surgery his father was scheduled to undergo had a 60-percent chance of taking his life.

Lyles had 12 hours to get home, but coming up with $900 for a plane ticket was a problem after the money he spent on gifts and visiting family for the holidays. The Air Force Aid Society solved the problem.

“Without that assistance, I would have paid, but that would have put me in a financial hardship,” Lyles said.

The Air Force Assistance Fund campaign runs from Monday through May 5 at Kirtland Air Force Base. It supports the Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation, Air Force Enlisted Villages and Gen. and Mrs. Curtis E. Lemay Foundation.

Lyles needed the plane tickets over a four-day weekend, when the local aid society office wasn’t open. So he called the American Red Cross, which authorized a no-interest loan and told him to check back with the Air Force Aid Society later.

When he did, the loan was changed to a grant.

“It makes a world of difference,” Lyles said of the help.

His father survived the surgery and is doing well.

The Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation supports a retirement community for officers, spouses, widows and widowers, while the Air Force Enlisted Villages provides secure homes for indigent surviving spouses of retired Airmen. The Lemay Foundation offers financial grants to widows of Air Force retirees.

In addition to emergency grants and loans, the Air Force Aid Society provides scholarships, child care for permanent changes of station, a spouse employment program, phone calls home and more.

“This is really by Airmen for Airmen, so your friends or you can see the results of your donation right away,” campaign installation project officer 1st Lt. Corey Fox said. 

Campaign assistant project officer 2nd Lt. Brittany Oxley said that from last October through January, the Air Force Aid Society has provided $39,000 in interest-free loans and $10,000 in grants at Kirtland. The assistant most often went to vehicle repairs or payments, housing, emergency travel and funeral expenses for family members of active-duty Airmen.

The fundraising goal for Kirtland is $54,500. If 20 percent of Team Kirtland members give one-fifth of 1 percent their monthly pay for a year, the base will meet that goal. 

That percentage amounts to $3 a month for an Airman Basic to $13 a month for a chief master sergeant, and $6 a month for a second lieutenant to $27 a month for a major general. Oxley said many people could make that happen by giving up one Starbucks drink a month.

Airmen and retirees can give via automatic payroll deduction, and anyone, including civilians, can give cash or check. Unit points of contact can provide payroll deduction forms or handle cash or checks.

“It’s really about more Airmen giving, not Airmen giving more,” Fox said.

Oxley said donors could choose which organization receives their money.

To celebrate the start of the AFAF fundraising campaign, there will be a AFAF kickoff party at Marquez Park (near the Gibson Gate) March 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees can get lunch for free, enter a drawing for prizes, get more information about the organizations the campaign supports, and make donations.

Fox and Oxley are looking for volunteers for the cookout and the campaign. For more information or to volunteer, contact Fox at corey.fox.3@us.af.mil or 846-1383, or Oxley at brittany.oxley@us.af.mil or 850-585-3755.