• Scarlett Bauman, Fundraising and Marketing Manager

An Unexpected Tragedy Forced Gloria to be Strong and Move Forward

Gloria met her husband when she was a teenager growing up in Wisconsin. “I went to the ballroom downtown one evening and Earl walked through the door,” Gloria recalls. “We talked and held hands all night. It was just magic!”

The couple had four children and served our nation at Air Force bases across the country and in Europe.

Two short years after Earl retired from the Air Force as a chief master sergeant, he died from a heart attack at the Eglin Air Force Base bowling alley. He was just 49 years old.

While three of their children were grown, Gloria was left behind to raise the couple’s youngest daughter, who was just 13 years old at the time. Losing Earl was an unexpected tragedy, but Gloria knew she had to be strong and keep moving forward.

Having been stationed twice at Eglin Air Force Base during the family’s time in the military, Gloria was very familiar with Air Force Enlisted Village in the Florida panhandle. “I put

my name on the list some 35 or 40 years ago knowing that one of these days I was going to be able to come here to live.”

Every year, Gloria would get a letter from AFEV asking if she was ready to make the move. With her youngest daughter living in Europe, and also serving in the Air Force, Gloria was

finally ready to say “yes!” in the spring of 2017.

The experience has been all she’d hoped for — a safe and caring community of other widows who had also spent their lives making the necessary sacrifices with their families to be of service to our country. Among other activities, Gloria enjoys Wii bowling, bingo and just interacting with the other residents.

“Everything you wish to do, you can do here. And it doesn’t cost you anything to do it. It’s so wonderful!”

Gloria adds, “I feel so at home… I get to be here with my new family. I can’t speak enough about it. I’ve got a lot more time here, I hope!”

If you feel inspired by Gloria's story and would like to make a gift to the Air Force Enlisted Village, please click HERE.

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