I wasn’t a career military spouse – I became one shortly before my husband retired from active duty as an E9. But in the brief time I lived on base, I quickly realized the sacrifices military families make to enable their active-duty member to be ready to do his or her job.
One particular incident nailed it for me. I was at the commissary, shopping for some steak for my dog’s Sunday dinner (okay, yes, she was spoiled) when a young woman with a couple of small kids came up. It was clear she was trying to decide if she could afford steak to feed her family that night – and here I was, buying half a pound of it for a spoiled Husky.
Now, I know she couldn’t put away a portion of the family’s paycheck each month to save for her retirement, and I also know that unless one takes advantage of the Survivor Benefit Plan should her husband die before her, she’ll lose her income source. Social security is barely enough to keep one out from under the railway bridges, let alone living comfortably, and even that wasn’t available to spouses of members who served back in the ‘50s and the early ‘60s.
That is why I support the Air Force Enlisted Village. Those whose alternative would be less than desirable conditions can live in a safe, comfortable and very pleasant home with many who shared their experiences. And if they can’t afford to pay, nobody will know, for it will be covered with no one else the wiser because of the Benevolence Program. In my opinion, the Village is the one true benefit of having been a military spouse.
Why give monthly? It’s so easy. And painless. And by doing it that way, I end up donating more than if I had to write a check annually.
And it feels great to know that even my small contribution can be the difference between another spouse living in misery or in well-deserved comfort.