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View from the Top: Airmen helping Airmen; 33rd annual Air Force Assistance Fund

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AETCNS) -- Our greatest privilege as Airmen is to care for our own, and the Air Force Assistance Fund is a tremendous opportunity to put that privilege into practice. This year's "Commitment to Caring" campaign runs through May 5. During the campaign, we'll be asking Airmen to contribute to any of four Air Force-related charities. This is quite simply Airmen helping Airmen.

You don't need to look any farther than the devastating aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to understand the benefits the AFAF provides our Air Force community. When our people needed rapid assistance - the AFAF's charitable organizations were ready and able to help.

Last year's campaign powerfully highlighted the importance of this tradition of caring. In 2005, our Airmen exceeded the AFAF's campaign goal by contributing more than $7.3 million. AETC contributed nearly $1.2 million and received over $4.4 million in assistance, contributing almost half of that amount to our people in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The AFAF was established to provide an annual fundraising campaign for the four official Air Force charities that help Air Force people with emergency aid, with educational needs, and with support of a secure retirement home for widows or widowers of Air Force members in need of financial assistance. Now in its 33rd year, the AFAF directly benefits active-duty, Reserve, Guard, and retired Airmen and their families by donating 100 percent of all contributions to the following venerable organizations:

-- The Air Force Aid Society provides Airmen and their families with worldwide emergency financial assistance, education assistance, and an array of base-level community enhancement programs. Base Family Support Centers have full details on programs and eligibility requirements. Information is also available online at http://www.afas.org/.

-- The Air Force Enlisted Village near Eglin AFB was founded in 1967 to provide a safe, secure, and dignified place for indigent widows of retired Air Force enlisted personnel. More information is available at http://www.afenlistedwidows.org.

-- The Air Force Village in San Antonio provides excellent retirement living, with access to continuing health care for military officers who served honorably and their spouses, with priority to retired Air Force officer widows and widowers in need of financial assistance. The Air Force Village website is http://www.airforcevillages.com.

-- The General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation helps widows of all Air Force retirees, both officers and enlisted, with financial grants of assistance. The LeMay Foundation Web site is http://www.lemayfoundation.org/.

The First Command received an overwhelming outpouring of support from last year's AFAF. Now, we have an opportunity to give back.

It's easy to specify which charities you want to support and all donations are tax deductible. Please take a look at their web sites and give what you can.

Thank you all for your commitment to supporting our Air Force and our fellow Airmen--past and present--and their families in times of greatest need. Let's make the 2006 AFAF campaign the best yet for AETC and our Air Force!
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