Team McChord kicks off AFAF ‘17

Master Sgt. Kelly Rodriguez, Air Force Assistance Fund primary installation project officer, speaks to members of Team McChord about AFAF at the campaign kick-off event, April 6, 2017 at the McChord Field Chapel Support Center. Donations received throughout the campaign go to charitable affiliates such as the Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation, the LeMay Foundation and the Air Force Enlisted Village, all of which support Airmen and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz)

Master Sgt. Kelly Rodriguez, Air Force Assistance Fund primary installation project officer, speaks to members of Team McChord about AFAF at the campaign kick-off event, April 6, 2017 at the McChord Field Chapel Support Center. Donations received throughout the campaign go to charitable affiliates such as the Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation, the LeMay Foundation and the Air Force Enlisted Village, all of which support Airmen and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz)

Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, fills out an Air Force Assistance Fund donation form at the AFAF kick-off event, April 6, 2017 at the McChord Field Chapel Support Center. Team McChord hopes to raise $51,576 in donations throughout the campaign, which lasts from April 10 through May 19. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz)

Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, fills out an Air Force Assistance Fund donation form at the AFAF kick-off event, April 6, 2017 at the McChord Field Chapel Support Center. Team McChord hopes to raise $51,576 in donations throughout the campaign, which lasts from April 10 through May 19. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Members of Team McChord gathered to celebrate the commencement of the 2017 Air Force Assistance Fund campaign, April 6 at the Chapel Support Center here.

The AFAF is an annual effort to raise funds for charitable affiliates such as the Air Force Aid Society, Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation, the LeMay Foundation and the Air Force Enlisted Village, all of which support Airmen and their families.

“This is an internal fundraiser for the Airmen, by the Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Kelly Rodriguez, AFAF primary installation project officer. “Contributions to the Air Force Assistance Fund will lend critical support to fellow Airmen and their families.”

Team McChord hopes to raise $51,576 in donations.

To simplify the process for members of Team McChord who wish to get involved, each unit has a designated AFAF representative.

“Each unit has a primary and alternate, or unit project officer assigned,” Rodriguez explained. “These representatives have received training and many have likely assigned ‘key workers’ within the flights to help with donation collection. Upon campaign kickoff, these members will begin establishing 100 percent contact within the units and spreading word about AFAF.”

Unique to other charitable donations, funds given during the AFAF cycle back into the Air Force community.

“The four worthy charities that encompass the AFAF are the Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation, the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, the Air Force Enlisted Village and the Air Force Aid Society,” Rodriguez said. “The AFAS provides emergency financial assistance, educational support, and community programs to ease the challenges associated with active duty life; the other three charities assist our retirees, surviving spouses and widows/widowers.”

According to Rodriguez, it’s not the size of the donation that matters, but the act of giving itself.

“This is not about Airmen giving more,” Rodriguez said; “it’s about Airmen giving!”

Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, agreed with Rodriguez, encouraging Airmen at all levels to spread the word and get involved.

“I think it’s in our nature to be generous,” Kosinski said. “The Air Force Assistance Fund really gives back to our Airmen and impacts their lives. From a colonel all the way down to an airman basic, you think you have life figured out until something unexpected happens and you find yourself struggling. That’s what the AFAF is here for – they bridge the gap until you get back on your feet. Every little bit helps and this is our chance to raise awareness.”

The AFAF campaign is scheduled to run from April 10 through May 19. For more information, visit the Air Force Assistance Fund website, contact a unit representative, or reach out to Master Sgt. Rodriguez at 253-982-0248.