2018-03-01 Exec. Dir. Report

In spite of the short duration between issues, the AWCF has been active and accomplished quite a bit in the short time. We have begun our work with the various ROTC units around the country and are working with them to select cadets for our Archie and Sue Lorentzen Education Endowment Grants. Last year we provided $31,000.00 to 25 cadets at 10 different universities, ROTC units of all Services, and to Airman at Vance AFB who are in distance learning programs. We expect to match that this year and have contacts with several additional schools. Additionally, we are working with these ROTC units to expand the RRVA scholarship opportunities under the non-kinship criteria. We expect to be able to open help for the distance learning Airman at Charleston AFB. The Chief who led the Vance effort is retiring to Charleston and will work with Tom Hanton to expand the program there.

We have expanded our reach in another locality, namely with Habitat For Hunanity in the Sacramento area. Through the services of Ron Lamb, we have been contributors to their building and refurbishing homes for veterans families. Ron attended the latest dedications of these homes on our behalf. They are described here.

One, Della Reed, is a widow of a vet who lost his sight, among other things. Della cared for him until he died. Her house, because of her lack of income, had fallen into such disrepair that she slept with her shoes on as she expected it to collapse around her. Habitat replace her roof, siding and windows. Her son, an active duty Marine Gunny assigned to Okinawa attended the dedication via SKYPE, much to Della’s surprise. Another, Santiago Bonilla, is a 74 year old Vietnam vet with Agent Orange diabetes who is confined to a wheelchair and will soon lose both legs to amputation. His home had holes in the roof, black mold, dry rot and termites. Habitat completely refurbished his home and made it wheelchair accessible.

Della Read’s home, before & after:


Santiago Bonilla’s home, before & after:


Santiago Bonilla:


The AWCF received a certificate of appreciation for being a good partner. The certificate is shown below. We continue to work with Habitat to help more veterans in need.


Among the Wounded Warriors that we are helping is one that came via a request from the AF Chief of Staff, General Dave Goldfinger. He let us know that a TACP was wounded in Syria and suffered severe neck injuries. We immediately asked Gary Baber to look into the situation at SAMMC.

Gary met and spoke with SSGt Aaron Taylor who has been discharged from SAMMC and is now an outpatient. He will be doing rehab at the Center for the Intrepid and thinks he will be here for six months to a year. His wife and two children (ages 5 and 2) came to San Antonio to join him. Initially, they had to stay in a motel but now have two rooms in a Fisher House at the SAMMC complex. He thinks he may be assigned here on a PCS basis but there are some areas of uncertainty at this point. Gary met with him and provided some funding to help them with his immediate expenses. He was very grateful for the assistance. We have promised him additional help if he needs it. As a side note, he was familiar with the River Rat organizations.

The effort with SSGT Taylor is just an example of the kind of work the AWCF does for military people and their families all over the world.

Your contributions allow the AWCF to continue its work of taking care of our own.

See you in Sacramento.

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.