Air Force Enlisted Village needs help

  • Published
  • By AFAF
  • Air Force Enlisted Village
When an active duty master sergeant died suddenly, he left behind a wife and four children at RAF Alconbury. With nowhere to go, this newly widowed Air Force wife was offered a home at the Air Force Enlisted Village.

It would be a temporary home until they could make more permanent arrangements. Air Force Enlisted Village residents stocked the kitchen and helped make the apartment a home for the family. It would not be the first time the Air Force Enlisted Village would be called upon to help an active duty Air Force member.

Hurricane Ivan destroyed the home of a retired Hurlburt Field master sergeant leaving his family homeless. They were also referred to the Air Force Enlisted Village. The family was immediately offered a two bedroom apartment with wheel chair access for their son at Teresa Village in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Once again, residents brought food and supplies and were constantly checking with the family to see if they needed anything. The family counts their stay at the AFEV as a true blessing.

Changing lives for the better, offering a home when there is no hope, caring for moral dependents...these are just a few ways the AFEV offers continuous care for the Air Force family.

"Our number one priority is and always will be providing a home to Air Force enlisted widows," said Jim Binnicker, AFEV President and CEO. "Being flexible is the key to our success."

Being flexible and adapting to the needs of residents is what the Air Force Enlisted Village does best.

An active duty airman's wife was distraught over her mother's health but lived too far away to take care of her. The Air Force mom was unable to live independently and needed assisted living. AFEV was able to provide the Air Force mom with a home at the Hawthorn House.

To meet the needs of residents who wished to live with their Air Force friends but required assisted living, AFEV constructed the Hawthorn House in 2005--a 64 one-bedroom assisted living facility located on the Bob Hope Village campus. Hawthorn House has a licensed nurse on staff 24 hours a day and encourages continued independence while providing assistance and support to residents in a safe, professional and nurturing environment.

Residents at Hawthorn House continue to interact with friends from Bob Hope Village and Teresa Village through the many planned activities. Annual events such as the luau and Oktoberfest are very popular and allow plenty of socializing for residents. Scheduled bus trips for shopping, dining and beach outings are also available and allow residents to venture from home with safe transportation.

AFEV has been providing a home for enlisted Air Force widows for 35 years. The need for such a place arose when a survey revealed that over 50,000 enlisted Air Force widows were living in poverty. Frequent military moves and low pay had left many of them without careers, home equities, retirement plans or any significant assets. A group of Air Force non-commissioned officers wanted to change these statistics and sought a way to help provide a home for these women. They had the assistance of former Air Force Chief of Staff General and Mrs. John D. Ryan, and in 1967 formed the AFEV (formerly known as the Air Force Enlisted Men's Widows and Dependents Home Foundation.)

In 1973, the AFEV was recognized as an official Air Force charity allowing support through the Air Force Assistance Fund.

Today, AFEV's primary mission is to offer housing and financial assistance to surviving spouses of enlisted Air Force members. The surviving spouse with the greatest need is cared for first and none are refused assistance due to financial status. Surviving spouses requiring financial assistance live here among peers sharing memories of Air Force life without the stigma normally associated with subsidized housing facilities. The money contributed through the Air Force Assistance Fund is used specifically for the living expenses of indigent widows.

The AFEV receives approximately 12 percent of the donations acquired during the Air Force Assistance Fund's six week campaign. This money can only be used to aid Air Force enlisted widows who qualify for financial assistance. All other expenses--administration, maintenance, security, utilities, transportation, 24-hour emergency alert system, landscaping, activities, chapel service, and general upkeep and safety projects--are funded by donations.

Many widows do not drive so maintaining a transportation fleet is vital to their well-being. Drivers, buses and cars are available for doctor appointments, pharmacy runs, and activities. Last year, two vehicles needed to be replaced and a 15-passenger bus with hydraulic lift for handicapped and assisted living residents was leased.

AFEV was created to ensure a safe, secure and comfortable home to any surviving Air Force enlisted spouse. With the vision of the original founders and financial assistance from Air Force family and friends, the AFEV will be able to provide a dignified life for current and future residents. Expanding the facilities and levels of care are needed as the aging population continues to grow. It is the flexibility of the AFEV that will always provide a better option for our Air Force family members--whether widows, widowers, active duty members, or dependant Air Force moms. "Taking care of our Air Force family is not a one-time deal. It is a forever deal," Binnicker said.
Please give to the AFEV through the Air Force Assistance Fund and know that a contribution is giving an Air Force family member a hopeful and better life.

Other avenues of donation include:
The Air Force Aid Society, which 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 also is available online at
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 Village Web site is

The General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, which 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