We'd like to thank Kayla Richardson for sending us this adorable photo of her son Owen and her words of thanks: "My husband SrA Daniel Richardson, currently stationed at Little Rock AFB, and I would like to thank the AFAS for providing our family with a grant to fund our son Owen's cranial helmet. We have been battling with Tricare and it has been a very stressful and tiring process. We are so grateful for the grant and to have that stress lifted! Owen received his helmet in August and has made amazing progress! If he continues to improve at the same rate he will be out of it soon! Thank you so much!"
The Robinson Family
Mason Robinson was born on July 11, 2004. At 2 1/2 months he began having seizures and was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder called Lissencephaly which literally means he has a smooth brain. SSgt Mark and Sarah Robinson soon learned that very little is known about this condition and they felt lost and alone. AFAS first assisted the Robinsons with funds to travel to a lissencephally conference to faciliate care for Mason where Mark and Sarah finally learned he medical answers they needed and more importantly made lasting friendships that they say changed their lives. Later AFAS assisted with the purchase of an adapted life jacket for aquatic therapy and a weighted blanket to limit movement for better sleep and a weighted lap belt to still his body and produce a more controlled motor response. These items helped improve the quality of life for both Mason.
A New Best Friend for Carson
Carson Bard has a new best friend. His name is Vito and he is a very special service dog that can help Carson with all kinds of things. One of Vito's special skills is detecting Carson's seizures. AFAS provided travel and hotel expenses so the Bards could travel to receive training for Carson and Vito. Air Force Aid Society Officer Betsy Conzo at McGuire AFB who worked with the Bard family provided this great picture of Carson and best buddy Vito.
My name is Abby and I am nine years old. I have an extremely rare genetic condition called Alcardi Goutieres Syndrome, or AGS-1. I can't talk, walk or hold my head up, but I can smile real big! My daddy, David is a police officer with the United States Air Force and he has served our country for 19 years on active duty. My mommy, Stephanie, is a kindergarten teacher at a church. My big sister, Riley, is in seventh grade and is the best siser every!
Because of my condition, I am wheelchair bound and 100% dependent on my family for my care 24 hours a day. My daddy has to go away a lot for his job and that leaves Mommy and Riley to take care of me. I really need a wheelchair accessible van to get me to my doctor appointments and just to travel safely.
I ask for your help, and my family graciously thanks you for hyour support in making my dream a reality.
AFAS was pleased to be one of the organizations that helped to make Abby's dream a reality by providing a substantial grant toward the van's modifications.
Danielle Marie Downs
On behalf of our daughter Danielle, my family and I wish to express our gratitude with the Air Force Aid Scholarship. The scholarship had provided the education and leadership for Danielle to pursue her career as a social worker at the University of Alabama. Danielle’s career goal was to move near Eglin Air Force Base to help military families. She was only three years old, when her father left for Desert Storm. Her last research paper was on the needs and behavior patterns of the military children. The professors from the university had not read any research papers on this subject. Danielle was to graduate on May 7, 2011.
According to her professors, Danielle would encourage other students not to give up and helped them with their class work. She worked over 30 hours a week, as an intern at the Temporary Emergency Services, and was a full-time student. On, Wednesday April 27, Danielle was one of the six students from University of Alabama tragically killed in the Tuscaloosa EF-5 tornado. Two of Danielle’s close friends died in the same house along with Danielle.
Terri L. Bordelon Downs
The Dismukes’ Story
A1C Matthew and Katie Dismukes’ son, Ryley, was born at just 25 weeks and required extensive medical care for the first few months of his life. As a newborn, Ryley was medivaced to Dallas Memorial where he underwent surgeries and remained at the hospital for several months. Air Force Aid helped the Dismukes by paying for their travel expenses between Tinker and Dallas and assisting with incidental expenses.
Lorna Fairchild, the AFAS caseworker who worked with the Dismukes, told us: "You have made a definite difference in the life of one Airman in particular and he and his family are truly understanding what is meant when we say that the military family takes care of its own! You guys have been an absolute blessing for this family!"
As the following pictures show, little Ryley has made wonderful progress.
Help for an AF Retiree...
I would like to personally thank the Air Force Aid Society for giving me a grant which allowed me to get the needed dental work so that I could be placed on the transplant list. That day came on November 30th 2011 when I received the call that I was officially being placed on the Lung Transplant List. Now, it's just one day at a time and trying to stay as healthy as I can till I can get the transplant. Thanks again, for without you I would never have been able to have it done.
Kenneth A. Bishop
22 years ago, as a high school senior, I was the recipient of a $1,500 grant as I was preparing to head to Boston University. I have never forgotten my good fortune or how the Air Force Aid Society helped me and my family. At the time my father was a MSgt on Active Duty. Today I found myself in the position of letting a coworker know about the Air Force Aid Society. He is a retiree whose daughter just started her first year of college. He was not even aware of the education grant. So I'm happy I was able to pass along the good work you do. Thank you,
I would like to thank the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) for awarding my son the Arnold Ed Grant. Because of this grant he was able to complete all his undergraduate studies at a local community college which has laid the foundation for him to attend a 4-year university. Without this grant it would have been very difficult financially to send him on my own and because of this we owe the AFAS a lot. He will be graduating next year with a degree in engineering and plans to go on to get his Masters degree in this field. Because of the generosity of the AFAS, my son will be able to give back to the community and be a great member of society as a whole. I salute and thank you AFAS for making my son's dreams come true! Sincerely,
Sean P. Mulvey, Capt, USAF, NC
In 2009 I began applying for the General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant and have received this grant every year that I have applied. It had always been my dream of going back to school, but I did not want tuition and other fees to hurt my family financially. I made a plan and began asking God to guide me and I knew that if it were meant for me to go back and earn my degree that God would make a way. I had never heard of this grant and the first time that I had heard about it was just by chance while sitting and viewing the Commander's channel. So I applied and of course have been an awardee for the past two years. I have since earned my AA in Elementary Edu and I have this program to be thankful for such a wonderful opportunity! Having the grant available for the families relieves so much pressure for us all, I am sure and helps to accomplish so many goals. My family and I are eternally grateful for this assistance and it has been a tremendous help! God Bless,
Tasika R. Saunders
For the past 5 years, you've been providing my family continued college assistance through the Air Force Aid Society’s General Hap Arnold Education Grant. I just want to say "THANKS" to all of you that are making it happen for our kids. It has been a tremendous help and a lesser burden financially to my family and to all families you've touched. As a retired Air Force member, I convey my deepest gratitude and I hope you can continue to provide this excellent program which in the end, will help our great nation to build its investments through education of our young men and women in America. Again, THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS AMERICA.
This isn't a heartfelt story, but for me it is. It's always been my dream since I was a little girl to be an Elementary Teacher. I'm a only child of a retired Air Force veteran, and when it came time for college I feared I wouldn't be able to attend the college of my choice. It has always been my dream to go to the University of Kentucky. I wanted to go partly because my uncle, now a deceased veteran of the Air Force, absolutely loved Kentucky Wildcat basketball and if you know anything about Kentucky, the blue blood runs thick through our veins. Another reason I wanted to go is also because neither of my parents went and it was a big step for me that I knew I was ready for. I want to say a huge thanks to you guys. I only have a year and a semester left in college and I will be graduating with my Bachelors of Arts in Education with a Minor in English. I'm the first of my immediate family to make this dream come true, and if it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't have been able to find the funding to attend. I can't thank you enough.
After leaving my full time position as a head teller at a local bank, I could not have imagined where this new life journey would take me. When I first decided to go back to school, I was unsure if going back to school would cause a financial burden on my family. With the help of the General Hap Arnold scholarship, I was able to pay all of my tuition and books at Wayne Community College. I am very thankful for the education scholarship that I have received over these past two years. My overall success was highlighted on May 13, 2010 when I graduated from Wayne Community College with an AA degree graduating with honors.
Holly M. Egan
Spouse of TSgt Richard L. Egan
Seymour Johnson AFB
In April of 2010, I adopted my special needs sister. I was terrified because it seemed I was upside down in my finances. Being a single parent of a 15 year old for the first time was a challenge in itself and with the added financial issues, it was very overwhelming. I came into our Airman and Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) and spoke with a lovely lady named Debbie who really went above and beyond to help me with my situation. Debbie worked with the Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) and they assisted me in a way that made me speechless. Not only did they give me money to go pick up my sister in Indiana, but also provided money for food and hotel expenses. They even provided assistance to get my sister a bedroom set including the comforter and sheets! My sister and I were so delighted. I will never be able to fully thank AFAS and the A&FRC for what they did for me and my sister. We will forever hold a place in our hearts for their exceptional efforts to increase my morale and ease my mind so that I can be an effective parent as well as work stress-free. I am forever grateful and thank those who have donated and assisted to make the Air Force Aid Society possible. ~ A1C Yulonda Murphy
I would like to thank you for financially supporting the Give Parents a Break program at Minot AFB, ND. This program fulfills a genuine need for the families of deployed members in a tangible way. It also provides an opportunity for families where paying a babysitter may be cost prohibitive. Give Parents a Break is a valuable resource for military families and is greatly appreciated.
My husband was deployed to Balad Air Base in July 2009. I stayed home at Minot AFB with our four children ranging from 3 to 11 years old. Like most military families, we are stationed away from our relatives and lack this support system. I learned about the Give Parents a Break program from the Airman & Family Readiness Center. I was provided with 4 hours of care, twice a month for all ages with an afternoon and evening opportunity. My children enjoyed themselves at the Youth Center and Child Development Center and looked forward to going. I am very grateful for the respite that it provided for myself and my children.
Give Parents a Break addresses the difficulties that military families face with a practical solution. I would like to encourage you to continue your support of this program. Thank you again for your financial contributions that make Give Parents a Break available. ~ Rosanne Wilhelm
In June of 2009, I had recently PCSd to Italy. Being in a new country for the first time is a challenge all on its own. Well approximately two weeks after I arrived, my grandfather (who helped raise me) passed. I knew I needed to be home but being that I just moved, my finances were a little tight. To top that off, just the month prior I had wrecked my car and had to pay a huge insurance deductable, so yes money was REALLY tight. I had to put down deposits on my new apartment and utilities in Italy and that can get fairly expensive (a few thousand dollars). In order to get home I turned to the Air Force Aid Society, (via the Army) and they assisted me with a $1400 plane ticket back to the US with no hassle. I am forever greatful and thank those who have donated and assisted to make the Air Force Aid Society happen. ~ SSgt Theresa Carter
"Having just finished one semester on the General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant, I just wanted to write to thank you so much for all of your help! I had a terrific semester and learned more information than I could've imagined. I could not have done it without your generous assistance." ~ Tom
"Help in a Time of Loss. Ten years ago my husband and I lost our baby. We were devastated by her death yet still had to make arrangements for her funeral. Although we were comfortable financially, we had recently purchased a home and didn’t have much extra money. Air Force Aid Society paid for all of the funeral expenses. They didn’t question that we weren’t married, they just offered us unconditional support. Years later, we are still grateful for the help given to us. My husband contributes every year knowing that we have the opportunity to help others in difficult times." ~ Darlene
"In January 2009, I was medically retired after 18 ½ years of service. In Aug 2009 we lost our house to foreclosure. On 3 Oct 2009 my wife Shanna died unexpectedly at the age of 34. I contacted AFAS HQ on 7 Oct around 10AM. I was able to see my closest base AFAS office and in less than an hour received financial support to have my wife’s remains taken care of. It was a huge relief to us since we were already in the negative till the end of the month. As a single father now with 5 kids from 7 to 17, their quick service to me and my family was simply outstanding! Thank you very much for everything." ~ Richard
AFAS assisted an active duty Master Sergeant assigned to Scott AFB with a $3000 grant to purchase special medical equipment to assist his 4 year old daughter who has Cerebral Palsy (CP). This Discovery Series bike allows severely handicapped children with CP get around either by themselves or someone pushing from behind.
The oldest son of a Captain assigned at Hill was diagnosed with autism. The boy had recently become an eloper (runner) who would run and hide while in public because he was scared and intimidated by new people. His parents had to track him down and when they found him the boy was very upset.
The family learned of a new program that uses special autism service dogs to assist those with autism. The dogs provide support to calm in times of stress, help prevent the child from running away, provide protection, and promote social interaction. Unfortunately, the family did not have funds to pay for the dog themselves and even with donations, they were still short. The Air Force Aid Society stepped in and provided a grant for the remaining balance so they could purchase the dog.
AFAS has been assisting a Staff Sergeant and his family at Dover with travel expenses and respite care after his son was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer at age 3 months. The family was transferred from Elmendorf to Dover to be near specialists. Now 20 months old, the child continues to undergo treatment at hospitals in Wilmington and Philadelphia. The frequent trips have been difficult on the finances of this family of four.
Staff Sergeant Slaydon was critically injured in Iraq when an improvised explosive device exploded about 2 feet from his face. The explosion left him completely blind. His left eye was gone. Doctors amputated his left arm above the elbow. He also suffered a collapsed lung and numerous facial factures and lacerations in the attack.
Sergeant Slaydon’s wife flew to Walter Reed and then followed her injured husband to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. The entire time she received support from a combination of people and resources. One of those resources was the Air Force Aid Society. AFAS paid their house payments for several months and took care of some unexpected expenses that came up while they were away from their home.
The Airman’s wife said that a team of Air Force members, along with financial support from the Air Force Aid Society, has "made it possible for me to spend most of my time with my husband, instead of dealing with bills and other distractions."
TSgt Medina is a Reservist assigned to March ARB and is an inpatient at Pathway House in CA, being treated for severe PTSD occurring after being deployed four times to the AOR. He is married and has a 19 month old child. Before being admitted to the hospital TSgt Medina was an Air Reserve Technician at March ARB in the grade of WG10 making sufficient money to provide for his family. Since September 08, he exhausted all his sick leave and savings. Currently his family receives food stamps and WIC totaling $475 a month. When TSgt Medina’s spouse first contacted the Airman and Family Readiness Center she was seeking assistance for $12,800. The Air Force Aid Society, in conjunction with the Bob Woodruff Family Foundation provided grants to catch up their mortgage, had the utilities turned back on, and prevented the family vehicle from being repossessed.