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LAAFB raises money, supports fellow airmen through AFAF

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Over the next several weeks, the uniformed men and women of LAAFB are targeting to raise more than $39,000 to benefit the Air Force Assistance Fund, and through the fund, their fellow airmen in need. In a memorandum to the base, Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski wrote, "It is such a privilege for us to be able to continue the long tradition of 'taking care of our own' in the Air Force."

The long tradition she mentions dates as early as 1942 when the oldest organization of the AFAF, the Air Force Aid Society, was established. Since then, other organizations came into existence and evolved into the AFAF campaign to consolidate the various official aid organizations supporting the Air Force. The AFAF fundraising campaign is an annual, on-the-job appeal conducted among Air Force personnel to provide financial assistance to other airmen through the various programs of the AFAF.

"I want to thank those who are going to donate this year and who help to provide a great benefit to our Air Force members. Please remember that even a very small donation can really help a family in need," said Col. Frank Simcox, commander, 61st Air Base Group here during the AFAF campaign kickoff breakfast.

And every donation does count. With at least 95 cents of every dollar going toward actual aid to airmen, donors can feel confident that their financial support is truly going toward helping those in need. Supporting airmen in need is not accomplished by financial pledges alone. It takes a team of volunteers to manage the AFAF campaign and ensure the donations are delivered to the designated organization. Simcox said to the volunteers, "You definitely understand service before self. Thank you for taking on this responsibility."

Worldwide the AFAS assists more than 33,000 airmen and provides more than $20 million in aid annually. The 2011 AFAF campaign at LAAFB raised more than $40,000 through pledges, providing the Air Force Aid Society the means to provide more than $33,000 in grants and interest-free loans locally.

AFAS is the official charity of the United States Air Force. The society directly supports the Air Force mission by providing emergency financial assistance, education assistance and quality of life programs for airmen and their families.

In addition to the aid society, the AFAF today encompasses the Air Force Village, Air Force Enlisted Village and the General and Mrs. Curtis Lemay Foundation. Collectively, these organizations provide invaluable financial aid and quality of life assistance to not only the active-duty airmen, but also the retirees, reservists, guard and their dependents, including surviving spouses. The villages provide cost-effective retirement homes for widows of retired officers and enlisted members respectively, and the Lemay Foundation supports widows of all Air Force retirees through financial grants of assistance.

While direct solicitations are only sanctioned for uniformed personnel, all employees and civic organizations are welcome to contribute to the AFAF. "Thank you all so much for your continued support of these four charities, who continue to support our Air Force family from entry into the Force through their retirement years," Pawlikowski wrote in closing her memorandum to the base.