AF Aid Society helps Airman overcome
By 1st Lt Alicia Wallace, 45th Space Wing
/ Published April 21, 2015
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Staff Sgt. Kevin Waters, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron fuels and water maintenance technician, was faced with a difficult situation that anyone could find themselves in just this past year.
He was returning to Florida after a family vacation in Texas with his wife, his 3-year-old and 8-month-old sons.
"We generally only plan a vacation financially for once a year," said Waters. "One week after returning to the base, we were notified that my wife's mother had passed away."
Waters' mother-in-law had been battling a few terminal medical conditions for the past five years, and every year they had made an effort to visit her when they took their family vacations to Texas. Waters and his wife have known each other since grade school, and the loss of his mother-in-law hit in hard.
"This past year, we weren't able to see her due to a scheduling conflict; and when we heard the news, I knew I would be taking my entire family back to Texas so we could do a ceremony," he said.
Waters immediately started researching options to pay for the trip back to Texas as well as seek out ways to pay for his wife's sibling's travel fees to attend the ceremony from Wisconsin and California.
"I considered the Falcon Loan, but I was doing my best not to accrue more debt. The Air Force Aid Society gave me a grant. It helped relieve so much of stress I was already feeling," said Waters.
The Air Force Aid Society, one of the programs sponsored by Air Force Assistance Fund, paid for Water's travel, food and lodging fees. Additionally, the first sergeant's council provided financial assistance and his squadron put together a money pool.
"If anyone is ever in the same situation I was in, I recommend they take the same steps. They should notify their shop lead, superintendent or rater, and then speak with their first sergeant. The first sergeant has a list of agencies that are able to assist you," said Waters.
The Air Force Aid Society provides emergency assistance as well as educational grants and programs that support spouses and provide childcare. All active duty and retired military Air Force, Air Nation Guard and Reserve on extended active duty orders over 15 days, and spouses and dependent age children of deceased Air Force personnel are eligible. Airmen and eligible family members may apply online or in person at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.
"I am so grateful for all the support I received from AF Aid Society and the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron. I don't think I could have made it through this hard time without them," he said.