An Enduring Legacy

History of the Air Force Enlisted Village

Our community is thriving today thanks to the vision and hard work of our founders decades ago. Our story goes back to the late 1960s, when the Air Force Sergeant’s Association conducted a survey and determined that more than 50,000 widows of enlisted Airmen were living in poverty.

To address this issue, a group of active-duty and retired Air Force non-commissioned officers, with the assistance of former Air Force Chief of Staff General John D. Ryan and his wife, created the Air Force Enlisted Men’s Widows Home Foundation, which would later become Air Force Enlisted Village. The foundation was officially incorporated on January 17, 1968, with the primary goal of offering a home for and financial assistance to widows of retired enlisted Air Force members.

The Air Force Enlisted Village has had support from many notable figures throughout its history, including comedian Bob Hope, retired Col Bob W. Gates and former president Gerald Ford, who was honorary National Chairman of the Bob Hope Village capital campaign. In 1978, Bob Hope performed what would be the first of many benefit shows for the widows foundation. Both he and Bob Gates played a fundamental role in the development of AFEV.

Notable Milestones
  • 1967
    Preliminary research and concept for Air Force Enlisted Widows Home Foundation
  • 1968
    Foundation incorporated in Washington, DC
  • 1971
    Foundation granted nonprofit 501(c)(3) status
  • 1973
    Foundation recognized as an official Air Force charity
  • 1975
    Teresa Village (Independent Living) opens in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida (Teresa Village sold in 2013)
  • 1980
    Foundation purchases USAF land for Bob Hope Village (Independent Living)
  • 1985
    Bob Hope Village opens
  • 2004
    Foundation name changed to Air Force Enlisted Village
  • 2005
    Hawthorn House (Assisted Living) opens
  • 2011
    Memory Care wing at Hawthorn House opens
  • 2015
    Bob Hope Village 5 opens, creating a consolidated community
  • 2020
    Bob Hope Village 6 opens adding 63 new units to our community