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  • Scarlett Bauman, Marketing Manager

A Message from AFEV President and CEO

Dear Friends,

With the holiday season beginning and 2021 quickly ending, I look back with gratitude and ahead with great hope.

Although it’s been a challenging year, I’m extremely grateful for friends like YOU who truly care for the residents here at Air Force Enlisted Village (AFEV). Without your friendship and generosity, we’d be hard-pressed to care for the surviving spouses of our retired enlisted U.S. military heroes!

Please, will you continue to help military widows like Vivian by responding to our 2021 Year-End Campaign!

Vivian met her husband, Clifford, in 1974 when both served as flight attendants for the Air Force. “He looked like a wonderful man,” Vivian says when asked what first attracted her to Clifford. “He had a wonderful smile.”

The couple loved to travel and did so often after retirement. They would load up their motor home and go — meeting up with other retired military friends at campgrounds across the country…

It was during one of these camping trips that Vivian first learned about AFEV from an acquaintance who raved about this wonderful community in Florida. It was something that Vivian held on to and never forgot.

After Clifford died, Vivian was heartbroken. It was hard to carry on, and she didn’t know what she’d do without Clifford by her side. Remembering the peace she felt at AFEV, she dreamed of rebuilding her life here.

Vivian wanted nothing more than to move into a community with other military widows who had similar life experiences to share. On Easter day of this year, she got her wish and moved into Bob Hope Village, where she was welcomed with wide-open arms!

"Before coming here, I had lost confidence in myself. I no longer had a spouse… or a career… or a home. I was struggling with ‘Who am I’? I no longer had those things that made up who I thought I was.” But all of that has now changed, largely because of the friendship and acceptance she has found here…

Vivian says, “On moving day, I felt like they (the other residents) were all waiting on me just to get here!”

Living at AFEV offers everything Vivian ever hoped for. She participates in many of the Wellness Center activities – including tai chi, line dancing, strength training and water aerobics. She also joined our Woman’s Veterans Club and Book Club.

Reflecting, Vivian is now thankful that Clifford convinced her to sell their Ohio home so many years ago. “Otherwise, I would be all alone in that house today just suffocating on memories past. He was preparing me for life after him.”

In the span of several months, Vivian’s sense of self-worth and confidence have been restored. Loneliness has been replaced with budding friendships. And her hope for the future looks brighter than ever!

ALL of this is made possible because of the goodness of friends like YOU.

Your most generous year-end gift today will help us meet critical needs — from nourishing meals and medical care to transportation and wellness workshops — in the months ahead.

Vivian looks forward to enjoying the holidays with her new friends she’s made at AFEV. “I’ve always said that the military has got a bond of heart to heart. It’s hard to articulate in words what it means to be with others like you.”

Thank you for blessing our residents like Vivian this holiday season with your gift today to help us care for them!

With gratitude and best wishes for the new year,

CMSgt Brooke P. McLean, USAF, Ret. President and CEO Air Force Enlisted Village

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