by Senior Airman Shannon Hall
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
3/21/2014 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Team
Dyess held a luncheon March 3, to kick-off the Air Force Assistance
Fund campaign. This campaign consists of four different charities that
raise money to support active duty, retirees, reservists, guard members
and dependents through financial stresses.
Hardships can occur at any time in someone's life and the Air Force has
different avenues to help out Airmen during their military career and
"I contribute every year because I believe in the Air Force family,"
said Master Sgt. Brandy Wess, 7th Operations Group first sergeant. "We
are members of an institution that takes care of one another, and I
understand that my contribution is vital in helping my fellow Airmen
through unfortunate events."
As a young Airman, Wess was an eyewitness to how the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign supports those in need.
"When I was an Airman, my son passed away after fighting in the neonatal
intensive care unit for three weeks," Wess said. "I could not afford
the service and funeral expenses, so my first sergeant coordinated with
Air Force Aid to get me a grant.
I continue to be humbled by the support shown to me by my teammates.
During an extremely emotional time, they stepped up and had my back,"
Wess said. "At my son's wake, eight of my wingmen stood behind me at
parade rest in their service dress, forming a very protective
semi-circle. My family was in awe at the sight. I knew my Air Force
family was looking out for me and this mentality is why I became a first
The campaign will run until April 11, with Team Dyess' goal this year
being to reach $115,000 in donations. Squadron representatives will be
visiting all squadrons to inform Airmen about the four charities, answer
questions and assist in filling out donation slips for those who choose
to do so. Any donation, regardless of the amount, can make a
"Over $17.4 million assisted more than 75,000 Air Force members and
their families last year, " said Ron Hooks, Air Force Aid Society
officer. "Dyess alone assisted 244 members with $179,786."
Although some Airmen might be reluctant to request assistance, this is
exactly why this campaign was created 73 years ago, Hooks said. Airmen
can speak with their supervisors, first sergeants or go directly to the
Airmen and Family Readiness Center if they ever find themselves in