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She is Why the Air Force Enlisted Village Exists

As told by a Bob Hope Village resident (name withheld to protect her privacy)


For fifty years, the Air Force Enlisted Village’s sole mission, through the compassionate support of people like you, has been to provide a home for surviving spouses of U.S. military heroes.

Every resident has a deeply touching story about how they got here, but Theresa’s path to AFEV is uniquely moving, and she wanted to share it with you…

“After my husband retired from the Air Force, we became full-time RVers. We went through our possessions and gave them away to anyone who had a need. That’s the way we were. We wanted to help others.

We had great plans to travel all over the U.S., but when we reached Jacksonville, I started having some health issues. Then Bob got sick. I took him to the naval hospital, and the doctors said he was going to live five more years. He passed away 82 days later.

Everything was in Bob’s name because he didn’t want me to have to worry about anything. Creditors wanted this and that, and I didn’t have enough money. I gave up the motor home. Then the company that owned our car wanted me to refinance it, but I didn’t have the funds. They took away the car.

I had no home or car, so I bought a cheap old SUV. I thought, “If I have to live in this thing, can I do it?” I downsized to the barest necessities to survive. I was really scared. Between medicine, doctors, and the special foods I had to eat because of my celiac disease, it complicated everything.

The SUV had no heat, and I couldn’t afford to get the heater fixed. It was tough to stay warm.

I would sleep in shopping center parking lots. I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. I like to take care of myself, and don’t want to be a burden on others.

I have rheumatoid arthritis, and my joints were really hurting from sleeping in the car. And I was always scared that somebody would try and break in.

My husband told me that if anything happened to him, I should contact the Air Force and that’s how I found out about AFEV.

So I called Opal at the Air Force Enlisted Village, and she told me to come right away, and that there’d be an apartment waiting for me.

Living here is a godsend. I am surrounded by angels. I’ve been blessed by so many different people. I can’t thank the staff here enough. God provided me what I needed just when I needed it.

I look at things so differently after my experience. I could still be living in the SUV. I could still not have a stove or refrigerator, a place to shower, a place to do laundry, or a place to wash my dishes and cook my next meal. I could still be worrying about someone getting into my car.

If AFEV weren’t here, I wouldn’t have survived in the SUV during the cold winter.

Now I can close my eyes and go to sleep unafraid.”

If you’re like us, you’re probably overwhelmed by Theresa’s story. Her faith. Her strength. Her gratitude. She is why the Air Force Enlisted Village exists. We are incredibly happy that we could give Theresa a home and help her start a new chapter in her life.


No Family But My Air Force Family

As told by Mrs. Hansen

It is a miracle of God that I am here. I was taking care of my mother, who was blind, and my father, who was deaf. They both died, and then I suddenly fell ill. I was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. The doctors couldn’t operate, so they decided to treat it with chemotherapy and radiation. I was on a feeding tube for months afterwards, and lost a lot of weight.

When I was discharged from the hospital, I was sent to a rehab facility. I couldn’t even do the most basic things for myself, like take a bath. I also have diabetes and heart problems, and had no idea how I was going to care for myself after I was released. I was really worried. I couldn’t afford an assisted living facility. I don’t really have any family and I had nowhere to go.

While I was in the hospital and rehab facility, the Air Force Enlisted Village chaplain visited me by chance. When I told the chaplain I was a widow of an Air Force man, he told me all about AFEV, but I didn’t have a military ID card.

The chaplain and another AFEV employee drove me to Hurlburt Field and got me an ID card. They worked very hard to make this happen. Now I could move to the Hawthorn House, but I was still too sick to even pack up the things in my house.

My friends at the AFEV were little angels again. They unpacked my few possessions when I arrived, and helped me settle in. That was a tremendous blessing, because I still can’t walk without my walker, and even then it’s a struggle.

Living here is the absolute blessing of my life. Everyone here takes such good care of me!


Caring for Our Active Duty Family in Time of Need

As told by TSgt Campbell

My wife passed away unexpectedly. We have four children aged 2, 5, 10 and 12 and they were uncomfortable sleeping in our home…the home where their mom took her life.


My First Sergeant arranged for accommodations at TLF but it was too small for the five of us. He remembered hearing about the Air Force Enlisted Village when he attended a briefing and contacted Chief Binnicker. Chief Binnicker offered us a place to stay immediately.

We moved in to Teresa Village and there were toys for the kids and warm spaghetti and meatballs waiting on the stove. The two bedroom apartment was roomy enough for all of us.

I was busy preparing our house for our move since I decided to separate from the Air Force and go back to Oklahoma to be with family. Many of the residents wanted to help us so I left the door unlocked and they were kind enough to leave meals for my family. I told the kids we received casseroles from grandmas. It was comforting to know that my family was well cared for while staying at Teresa Village.

I can’t express my gratitude enough for the Air Force Enlisted Village’s hospitality. The food I found waiting for us when we first arrived brought tears to my eyes. The offers for help were constant and sincere. I’m so glad the Air Force Enlisted Village and its residents were there to support my family in our time of need.


A Happy Ending to a Devastating Loss

As told by a Bob Hope Village resident (name withheld to protect her privacy)

I met my husband when I was 21-years-old while he was home on leave from the Air Force. We wrote letters to one another while he was overseas and married a year later.

When my husband served in Vietnam, I lived with my parents in the home I had known since I was 6-years-old. I have so many memories from living in that house.

My husband had retired and we returned to the small town where I had grown up. After my mother died, my husband bought the home that I grew up in.

We happily lived there together for nine years until one day my husband became ill and he died three short weeks later. I had no income of my own to pay for the upkeep and the mortgage for the home.

Everything seemed to go downhill when my husband died. I tried selling the house but had no offers. I used what savings we had to pay the mortgage but quickly fell behind. I eventually had to turn it over to the bank. I had recently lost my husband and now I was losing my home. I was devastated.

I had no place to go. And, I had no money. My husband had told me long ago about the Air Force Enlisted Village but I never thought I would need to live there. I called, and here I am today.

I am very happy here but some days I do miss my husband. It’s been three years since he died but some days it feels like three days. I have made wonderful friends here. I stay busy with all the activities, but some days I like to sit on my patio and read a book in the sunshine.

I am very grateful for my new home and new life.


Safety, Security and Friendships Found

As told by a Bob Hope Village resident (name withheld to protect her privacy)

My husband served in Vietnam and had been sick for a very long time. I cared for him until he died. Looking back now, I realize taking care of our home had become unmanageable for me because I was too busy caring for my husband while he was sick.

After my husband died, I missed him terribly, but I knew he was at peace. I felt isolated after his death and became deeply depressed. I rarely left my home.

I tried to maintain our home but it was too much work for me to do on my own, and I didn’t have much money to hire help. It was difficult to keep up with utility payments and often my electricity and water would be turned off.

The neighborhood around me had declined and I had the biggest scare of my life when someone tried to break into my home. My son is in the military and when he called to check on me, I told him about my scare. He began researching new places for me to live and found the Air Force Enlisted Village.

I was reluctant to move at first because I missed my husband, and I knew it would be hard to say goodbye to our home. But my life has changed drastically for the better since I came to live at the Air Force Enlisted Village.

I have made wonderful friends here, and I enjoy going to the many activities with my new friends. I am no longer depressed and I take comfort in knowing that I have something in common with my new friends and neighbors.

I definitely feel cared for here and I am safe. Life was stressful before. I no longer have to worry now.

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