• Scarlett Bauman, Fundraising and Marketing Manager

Seeds of Friendship Help Fill the Hole in Josie's Heart

For Josie and other widows here at Air Force Enlisted Village, your support is like a big, warm hug that fills their hearts with hope.

“Ever since my husband died it’s been hard to think of the future,” says Josie, her voice cracking. “Some days it’s really hard to carry on. But I have my friends here and the staff who are so good to us.”

It’s been more than three years since her spouse passed, but Josie still gets choked up talking about their life together.

Josie met Daniel , an Air Force master sergeant, while he was on temporary duty in the Philippines, her homeland. They fell deeply in love and moved to the U.S. to create a life together.

After more than 25 years of marriage and dutifully serving our country, Daniel died of heart complications. He was just 59 years old and had recently retired.

As she grieved, the truth sunk in. Josie realized she was completely alone.

She and Daniel had no children together. There were no close friends nearby. And her family lived halfway around the world – in a place that was no longer home to her.

For military widows like Josie who carry a heavy heart and oftentimes have nowhere else to turn after the death of their spouse, the Air Force Enlisted Village (AFEV) is a true lifesaver.

AFEV is a nonprofit organization whose core mission is to provide a safe, secure home for surviving spouses of retired enlisted U.S. airmen.

Located along the beautiful Emerald Coast of northwest Florida in Shalimar near Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, housing is available at Bob Hope Village, our independent living community, and at Hawthorn House, our assisted living and memory support residence.

We rely on the generous support of good people like YOU to power all of our good works – helping to provide meals, transportation, wellness workshops, daily activities and more for

our residents.

A teacher for more than 20 years, Josie was working as an aide for children with special needs at Silver Sands School in northwest Florida. Her coworker sensed Josie’s deep sadness and told her about Bob Hope Village. Josie’s coworker knew that the best medicine for Josie’s grief would be the care and friendship she’d find at AFEV.

Josie made the move to Bob Hope Village at AFEV. Her only regret is that she didn’t do it even sooner. The change in Josie’s spirit has been a joy to witness.

“I am thriving! I’m so happy where I am now. I feel safe,” she exclaims. “I take a Zumba class and water aerobics. I love to line dance and play cards. And I also lead a Bible study!”

But all of these activities pale in comparison to the thing Josie treasures most about living at AFEV: the unexpected sisterhood she’s found here.

Josie fondly recalls the day she was planting flowers outside her new residence. On her knees with a small spade in hand, she looked up to find several other residents who had come over to greet her and help her plant the garden.

“A couple of residents told me ‘Hey, you can be my sister.’ I really cried after that.”

This was more than just a simple act of kindness. It was symbolic of what was to come for Josie as she befriended other Air Force widows at the village. You see, the other residents here have helped Josie to fill the hole in her heart by planting seeds of friendship and hope for the future.

This is what YOUR support of Air Force Enlisted Village today makes possible. It’s life-changing and beautiful. But our ability to provide this special community for military widows like Josie depends on friends like YOU.

For Josie and other widows here at Air Force Enlisted Village, your support is like a big, warm hug that fills their hearts with hope.

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