Project Officer and farewells

I've had the privilege of serving as project officer for several different events, some major ones and some small ones. Serving as a project officer is not an uncommon thing for a chaplain at my level. But the project I'm working on now though is a key one and special, one I will remember I think as a highlight of my career. I am organizing the annual Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign for the wing that I am assigned to and serving as the alternate and assistant to the lead project officer for the entire Air Force command in the area. As I shared with my commander this week, this is a project that I know makes a difference in the lives of our airmen. The AFAF raises funds that will be used in the next year to take care of emergency financial needs of our airmen when tragedy or the plain circumstances of life happen. And AFAF also provides funds and places to stay for widows of Air Force veterans who have no other place to turn to. Air Force Aid, one of the beneficiaries of the campaign, is known for quickly providing emergency funds to our airmen when emergencies and tragedies strike. Life happens and it can often be very difficult in the regimented lives of our airmen to have to adapt suddenly to taking time away from work, to coming up with money for plane tickets, car repairs, and unfortunately but at times even funerals. But military members get sick and their families get sick and the big events of life that we all face, happen to military families as well. My first funeral at Arlington, was even before I was assigned here, a young airman who lost the battle to cancer.

My main responsibility is publicity for the campaign, and organization and training of volunteers to go to our military members to share how important this event is in our taking care of one another, and finally accounting for the funds raised and passing them up the chain toward their final destination. To learn more about AFA you can click here.

I love this about the Air Force, what we call the wingman concept, but really is another word for family. The Air Force is certainly a professional and military organization with structure, core values, mission statements, expectations for behavior and so forth -- but it is also a bunch of folks who care deeply about one another and work hard to take care of each other. This was reinforced to me this week as certain fellow airmen stepped forward without my asking to offer assistance in a rather large task.

I was over at the Pentagon last week for my initial briefing and training on the program. This was my first time in the Pentagon, and it was not what I expected. I don't know how to describe it other than to say it seems like a whole bunch of tunnels and corridors and not too many windows. And lots of people.

This week we also had a farewell luncheon for one of our chaplain assistants who will be departing us to go to his new duty station. He is a most unique person who is just fun to serve with and has one of the kindest spirits of anyone I have ever known. He is going to be missed greatly. We teased him that we were really using his going away as an excuse to eat chicken. My wife was kind enough to BBQ enough chicken for about 40 folks to have a rather nice lunch.

Last Sunday I was blessed to be invited over to Bolling to preach for their liturgical service. I truly enjoyed this. I miss not preaching every Sunday. And these are a fine bunch of folks who attend the service. I received a special treat watching a young girl light the altar candles. Here face just shined with her smile as she did so. Truly a blessed morning that was.

On a side note, I would ask my friends and relatives who keep up with me here to keep my mother in your prayers as she is having some medical issues that are rather serious.