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A Big, Warm Hug for Josie

“Ever since my husband died, it’s been hard to think of the future,” Josie said. “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 native land. 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 in 2016. 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 living nearby. And her family and relatives lived halfway around the world – in a place that was no longer home to her.

Josie has found friends she now considers as her family at Bob Hope Village.

For military widows like Josie who carry a heavy heart and oftentimes have nowhere else to turn after the death of their spouse, your support through Air Force Enlisted Village (AFEV) is a true lifesaver. Thanks to you – and a caring co-worker – Josie found her way here.

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 co-worker sensed Josie’s deep sadness and told Josie about Bob Hope Village. Josie’s co-worker knew that the best medicine for Josie’s grief would be the care and friendship she’d find at AFEV’s retirement community, Bob Hope Village.

In February 2017, Josie made the move to Bob Hope Village. Her only regret is that she didn’t do it sooner.

“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 these activities pale in comparison to the thing Josie treasures most about living at Bob Hope Village: the unexpected sisterhood she’s found here.

Josie (right) enjoys gardening and bonding
with other Air Force widows – her
“sisters” – at the village.

Josie fondly recalls the day when 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.

“When I told them I was new here and had no family locally, a couple of residents told me ‘Hey, you can be my sister.’ I really cried after that,” Josie said.

This was more than just a simple act of kindness. It was symbolic of what was to come for Josie as she bonded with other Air Force widows at Bob Hope Village.

Feeling inspired by Josie’s story? Please give Josie a big, warm hug with a gift to the Air Force Enlisted Village. Click HERE to GIVE TODAY.

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