2017-10-01 Exec. Dir. Report

Following the May reunion, the summer began in high fashion. Many good things were happening. But, because of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, it ended on a very sad down note. Many military families were hurt along the Texas and Louisiana gulf coasts, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For that reason the AWCF contacted the Texas and Florida National Guard and the National Guard Headquarters to offer help for all military families impacted. You may recall seeing the announcement in the weekly RATNET Digest.

To help those affected by the disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey, the AWCF authorized 75K for hurricane relief for military families in the impacted area. However, when Hurricanes Irma and Maria followed close after Harvey, the amount was increased to $150K. If more funds are needed, further authorization will be worked. This money will go to Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard and retired members who have damage or losses caused by the hurricanes. Working together with the River Rats in those areas, the money will be directly distributed to the families. The AWCF is working directly with the various National Guard Headquarters to vet and verify the need for Guardsmen. We will work directly with military units in the area, as well, to do the same.

This is in keeping with the process and effort that we did for the Moore, Oklahoma tornado and Hurricane Sandy. Anyone wanting to make a tax deductible donation for this disaster relief can do so via the AWCF web site at www.airwarriorcourage. org using the Give Direct option. You can reach this option after clicking the DONATE button on the home page. GIVE DIRECT is at the upper right of the page you get to. Otherwise, a check can be sent to AWCF, PO Box 877, Silver Spring, MD 20918. Designate it for Hurricane Harvey relief. 100% of money donated for this will go to the military families.

We have River Rats in the disaster area working to get funds to the families. As of this writing, many have been delivered. We have also received a note of thanks from M/G (ANG) John Nichols, Texas National Guard Adjutant General. Considering the strength and breadth of the hurricanes and follow on storms, there will be lots to do over the next few months. We will keep you all apprised of progress and results. Thanks ahead of time for all who contribute to our military families’ assistance.


On a happier note, we are proud to let you know that a very special young lady, who we helped at SAMMC, has been making a name for herself as an accomplished wounded warrior. She is Captain Christy Wise (shown above). We furnished a house for her and her twin sister when she was in rehab at SAMMC following a boating accident off the Florida coast. A boater ran over her and the prop cut off her leg above the right knee. We paid her rent during the time she was at SAMMC. She is now back flying HC-130s and has moved to Davis Monthan. Christy, 30, who is co-captain of the U.S. team for the upcoming Invictus Games, says the inspiration to get involved stems from Great Britain’s Prince Harry’s personal experience during his two tours in Afghanistan. She said, “He saw people injured, and even a casket or two. He says we owe these people the best whatever they’ve given, whatever we can do for them. At the U.S armed services Warrior Games he saw how sports is a way of showing people that, ‘Okay, you know how you were an athlete before and had teammates and friends and this is a way of seeing that again, you don’t have to lose that.'”


On another positive event, we had a very successful Meat Burn at Kansas State University. On Saturday, 19 August 2017, Chuck DeBellevue, Mike Sloniker, Roger and Patty Locher, Bill Schwerfeger, and Dave Wilson met at K-State in Manhattan, KS. They were met by 4 K-State Wildcat cadets to pickup 240 hamburgers, 160 hot dogs, and buns. They then joined the AFROTC Det 270 cadets for the Meat Burn. It was a great team effort. General Dick Myers, (AF Ret and former CJCS) and now President of K-State, joined the group and spent over an hour with the cadets, parents, and family members. He then joined the cadets in the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the Air Force song.


Chuck DeBellevue (middle) and Roger Locher (right) at Meat Burn


L-R: Bill Schwerfeger & Dick Myers

With hopes for success in helping the families hurt by the hurricanes, I look forward to better news in the next MIG SWEEP.

Therapeutic Riding Program FAQ

Are there any programs that would potentially benefit our community since our services are free?
ANSWER – Yes. AWCF support may be by cost per child/lesson (a personal scholarship) or, in the case of those TROs that do not charge participants, a blanket award to the Therapeutic Riding Center (TRC); all payments/donations are made directly to the TRC. Completion of the TRP Application is required for all participants.
How might a military family with a disabled child be reviewed for funding?
ANSWER – Military rank or branch of service is not an issue. The AWCF makes its decision solely on each child’s situation, medical prognosis and “need.” The AWCF reserves the right to verify the military status of the sponsor(s) and dependent status of the child involved, the medical condition of the child and the “need.”
Does your program provide support for military dependent children that do not have a diagnosed disability?
ANSWER – No, the AWCF TRP is designed to assist military dependent children receive disability therapy not covered by the traditional military service “safety-nets,” e.g. CHAMPUS, TRICARE, etc.
What is the advance timeline that they would need to apply?
ANSWER – Whenever a child is approved by the TRC for participation or is already participating, we will accept a completed TRP application and begin the process for possible funding. The AWCF approval process takes approximately 2-3 weeks to be completed and the Therapeutic Riding Center/family notified of whatever support is approved.
Is there a specific format?
ANSWER – Yes, please review our TRP Application.
Do you share participant information with anyone other than the AWCF, the Therapeutic Riding Center and family involved?
ANSWER – No. As with all AWCF philanthropic activities, all information is dealt with on a confidential basis unless, on a voluntary basis, written permission of all parties is obtained.
We are an EFMH (Equine Facilitated Mental Health) program, and the majority of our riders are able bodied but wrestling with many issues. Would your program be able to sponsor scholarship for those students if they qualified?
ANSWER – Probably not, as our program is not currently designed to support “able-bodied” children. However, our medical staff will review a child’s condition diagnosis/ prognosis statement, completed by his/her doctor, and make a determination of eligibility.
Some of our students are from families so broken apart that there is no contact between parents. Do you have access to military service information if the fathers are unreachable to fill out forms about their service history?
ANSWER – No, we do not have such a capability but the parent caring for the child should be able to provide sufficient information for our review. Having a “regular” family, i.e., not divorced/separated/etc, does not qualify nor disqualify a needy child from participating in our program.