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Team V rockets past AFAF goal

Vandenberg rockets past the Air Force Assistance Fund goal for 2008.

Vandenberg rockets past the Air Force Assistance Fund goal for 2008.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Airman's Creed says, "I will never leave an Airman behind," and each year Team V lives up to this promise.

The Air Force Assistance Fund's "Commitment to Caring" campaign came to a close April 13 here, and Vandenberg's generous Airmen far exceeded the $48,000 goal, raising $69,497.62.

Now in its 35th year, 100-percent of designated AFAF contributions benefit active-duty, Reserve, Guard, retired Air Force people, surviving spouses and families. Last year, Airmen across the Air Force exceeded the campaign goal of $5.3 million with more than $7.2 million.

"The AFAF has a long tradition of providing critical assistance to members of our Air Force family," said Master Sgt. Steve Dawson, the Air Force's fundraising programs manager. "Whether they become victims of natural disasters or endure the personal hardships of deployments, accidents, illness, aging or death, these charities are there to provide fast and reliable help."

Staff Sgt. DeNoris Mickle, who works at the 30th Space Wing here, is just one Airman who had to call on AFAF in a time of need. His wife, Heather, was raised by her grandfather. So when the Mickles found out he was going in for heart surgery, they wanted to be there. However, they were stationed in Guam and he was in North Carolina. 

"We didn't have sufficient funding to fly from Guam to North Carolina, so my first sergeant contacted AFA representatives," Sergeant Mickle said. "They made sure that my family was flown from Anderson Air Force Base to Charlotte.

"We're just thankful that we were able to comfort Heather's grandfather during his time of need," he added.

"It is important to take care of our Air Force family, past and present," said Capt. John Manibusan, the AFAF project officer for Vandenberg. "This campaign is all about 'Us Taking Care of Our Own.'"

Examples of charities that benefit from AFAF include:

-- 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 staff members at airman and family readiness centers have full details on programs and eligibility requirements. Information is also available at http://www.afas.org/.  

-- The Air Force Enlisted Village Indigent Widows' Fund supports the Air Force Village in Shalimar, Fla., near Eglin Air Force Base. The fund provides homes and financial assistance to indigent widows and widowers of retired enlisted people 55 and older. More information is available at http://www.afenlistedwidows.org.  

-- The Air Force Villages Indigent Widows' Fund supports the Air Force Village in San Antonio, a life-care community for retired officers, spouses, widows or widowers and family members. The Air Force Villages Web site is http://www.airforcevillages.com.

-- The General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation provides rent and financial assistance to indigent widows and widowers of officers and enlisted people in their own homes and communities. The LeMay Foundation Web site is http://www.afvw.com/lemay.html.  

"Last year Team V received $118,000 in grants and zero interest loans," Captain Manibusan said. "Although we beat our goal by $20,000 this year, we still get more out of this than we put in."

For more information, visit the Air Force Assistance Fund's Web site at http://afassistancefund.org/.  

(Air Force Personnel Center News Service contributed to this article.)