AFAF helps NCO's family in midst of crisis

Robins Air Force Base, GA -- Sometimes help comes just in time.

That certainly was the case for Master Sgt. Mark Brady, a communications and navigation systems instructor in the 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 6, Air Education and Training Command.

A serious vehicle accident after Thanksgiving 2007 was the first link in a chain of unfortunate events that led Sergeant Brady's family to the Air Force Assistance Fund.

The father of three suffered a concussion, a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his knee. His 10-year-old daughter, Amanda, sustained a broken foot and ankle.

His wife, Holly, however, was in a much worse condition, having a broken pelvis, a ruptured bladder, a broken collarbone, a broken femur, broken ribs, among other injuries.

The family was trying to recover when Mrs. Brady learned her father had died and the family needed to travel to Missouri for his funeral.

"Because my wife was on disability, we had drastically reduced income (in) the household," Sergeant Brady said. "Her injuries prevented her from riding in the car for a lengthy amount of time."

The family had to fly and Master Sgt. Brian Nutter, a first sergeant with the 116th Maintenance Operations Squadron, knew how to help.

"As a first sergeant, any time members in my unit need assistance, whether it be money or family problems, I'm usually the first person that they think of," he said. "As a first sergeant, I try to assist them in any way I can."

The first sergeant sent Sergeant Brady to the Airman and Family Readiness Center to get financial help from the Air Force Aid Society, a charity under the AFAF umbrella that offers loans and grants to Airmen in emergencies.

Considering Sergeant Brady's financial situation, the first sergeant worked with the AFAS to get the NCO a grant versus a loan he'd have to pay back.

Frank Harden, a travel agent in the Information, Tickets, and Travel Office was able to get the Airman and his family a flight.

"He's active-duty military and I was able to get his family a very discounted ticket because of that," he said.

Mr. Harden said he loves to help people.

"It's my goal in life to make as many people happy as I can," he said. "I was glad to help out."

Sergeant Brady, whose detachment from Sheppard AFB, Texas, provides training on the maintenance of communications and navigations systems on Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar aircraft in the 116th MOS, admitted that he was hesitant to ask for help.

"At first, I was too proud to take the assistance," he said. "My supervisor convinced me to go and try it out because we didn't know what other expenses we'd have along the way. I'm really glad we did because it has been a rough, long road. At a time when you lose a family member, you're kind of in a crisis situation in the first place, Air Force Aid Society made everything a lot easier in a really hard time."