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NEWS | March 21, 2018

Service members helping service members: AER, AFAF

By Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland and Airman 1st Class Anthony Nin Leclerec 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

While service members are encouraged and trained to take care of their families financially, emergencies and unexpected expenses can happen at any time.

For those who come across those emergencies, interest-free loans and grants are available to aid them through Army Emergency Relief and the Air Force Assistance Fund. Each program is hosting a campaign this Spring to raise funds to support service members in need.

Army Emergency Relief

At Joint Base Langley-Eustis, the AER campaign runs March 15 through May 30. Organizations across JBLE kicked off the campaign with training for unit representatives to best provide information and raise funds within their organizations March 12.

The AER, enacted in 1942 by the Secretary of War and Chief of Staff of the Army, provides Soldiers, retirees and Gold Star families with assistance for a wide variety of financial situations with no interest or fees.

“At its most basic form, AER is Soldiers helping Soldiers,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Vozelli, installation AER coordinator. “The most important goals for this campaign are to raise money for the relief program, and to educate Soldiers, retirees and Gold Star families of the availability of the program.”

This year, JBLE set a fund-raising goal of $100,000. During the 2017 campaign, units across JBLE competed against each other to raise the most money, bringing in close to $130,000.

Units raised money through various events, which their command leadership and the installation office of the Command Judge Advocate deemed legal and appropriate, annually.

“A lot of the units try to one-up each other to raise more money and make it fun,” said Vozelli. “That makes it easier to involve individuals in raising money and get the word out about the program to all the Soldiers within the units.”

Vozelli believes the AER program helps ensure Soldiers are fit-to-fight, and commanders have complete readiness within their units.

“If a Soldier is dealing with a financial hardship, their family isn’t getting taken care of and they are not mentally focused on the fight; this program brings the Soldiers, their supervisors and commanders together to take care of the Soldiers and their families, said Vozelli.

U.S. Service members, civilian employees and retirees can donate through their unit AER representative or they can reach out to the AER office directly.


Air Force Assistance Fund

The 45th annual Air Force Assistance Fund campaign, for Joint Base Langley-Eustis, begins March 26 and runs through May 4.


The AFAF Campaign is an annual, on-the-job fundraising appeal conducted among U.S. Air Force personnel for the benefit of Air Force personnel.


Contributions to AFAF will lend critical support to fellow Airmen and their families – active duty and retired, officers and enlisted.


“The funds donated toward Air Force Assistance Fund will benefit Air Force personnel”, said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shaerica Waters, 633rd Force Support Squadron readiness superintendent. “Each unit will have a designated Key worker to contact and collect all donations with a goal for the 2018 campaign of 100 percent contact.”


The charities available for donations are:

  • The Air Force Aid Society, which provides emergency loans, scholarships, child care, and many more.

  • The Air Force Village Charitable Foundation, which provides retiree’s widows and widowers with a home and a comfortable, engaging, cost-effective way of life, focused on well-being and wellness, all with the security of exceptional health care and assisted living. 

  • The Air Force Enlisted Village, which provides retiree’s widows and widowers with a home and aids those with insufficient retirement income.

  • The LeMay Foundation, which seeks out and provides assistance to widows and widowers of Air Force retirees through financial grants of assistance, ensuring they are able to continue living in their homes.


For more information regarding the AFAF campaign, contact AFAF representatives at 764-5784 and 574-2424.