This is really airmen helping airmen

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
At the time she had the full-time responsibilities of not only being a new mother to her first-born child, but also the challenges of running a household and paying the bills - all the joys of starting out in life as a young family.

It was then she learned of the Bundles for Babies program, an Air Force Aid Society community program also offered at Robins through the Airman and Family Readiness Center. 

Active duty members and spouses who are expecting a child can take the class, where they can learn valuable skills about parenting, meet other parents and receive wonderful gifts such as clothing and other baby items. 

First Lt. Somer Lopez took advantage of that opportunity for the fourth time this past summer with the birth of her fourth child. 

"This has been with me for over a decade," she said. "I was the spouse of an airman, and now it's here for me as a commissioned officer," Lopez, 78th Force Support Squadron Customer Support chief, said. 

During the next three weeks, unit project officers will continue to spread awareness about the 2016 Air Force Assistance Fund, which supports active duty, retirees, Reserve, Guard and dependents. 

AFAF affiliate charities include not only AFAS, but also the Gen. and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation, Air Force Enlisted Village and Air Force Villages Charitable Foundation - Blue Skies of Texas. 

Lopez says it's something that's been around for as long as it has because of the support people give to families like hers.

"The Air Force Aid Society, when you think of assistance, is airman with a big 'A,'" she said. "It's officers, enlisted ... whoever needs assistance. I used it when I first started out. Rank doesn't matter." 

Prior to remarrying, Lopez had been a stay-at-home mom for five years. Knowing she had to move on and support herself and her family, she jumped into a new career by applying for selection to the Air Force's Officer Training School. Her first assignment was to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, before arriving at Robins. 

Another way she has benefitted from AFAF is with emergency assistance following the death of a family member. 

Within days she was able to receive much-needed funds in order to travel cross country for the funeral.

With her husband currently deployed, there are times when she'd like to take some time for herself to run errands, go shopping and other things like that. 

Give Parents a Break - another AFAS program - allows time once a month when child and youth development centers offer parents childcare, and personal time to do exactly those things. 

As an AFAF unit project officer with the 78th Mission Support Group, Lopez is especially honored to share her story with airmen and how far their contributions can go.

"I have a very personal connection so it's very meaningful to me," she said. "Whether you're an airman first class or a lieutenant colonel, it's for everybody. 

"If you're in need of assistance, it's there," she added.

What to know
AFAF affiliate charities, which support active duty, retirees, Reserve, Guard and dependents, include: Gen. and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation; Air Force Enlisted Village; Blue Skies of Texas - formerly Air Force Village; and Air Force Aid Society, with an office located in the Airman & Family Readiness Center in Bldg. 794. 

Retirees who would like to contribute may contact the Retiree Activities Office at Civilians may contact their organization's UPO. For a full list of unit POCs, visit t