by 1st Lt Alicia Wallace
45th Space Wing
4/24/2015 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Staff
Sgt. Kevin Waters, 45th Civil Engineer 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 him 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.