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.