Academy is tops in Air Force Assistance Fund

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy is currently at the top of the heap when it comes to reaching predetermined goals in the 2009 Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign.

"It was the effort put in by all of the base keyworkers," said Master Sgt. Robert Hill, Cadet Squadron 31's Academy military training NCO. "I have worked AFAF campaigns before, but not as the overall installation program manager."

The Academy set out to raise $50,328, but after receiving donations from around the installation, the original goal was crushed by more than 250 percent totaling $126,971.72.

"I think the reason is two-fold: most people are generous by nature and we've had several Academy members get much-needed help from AFAS," he said. "Their stories touched people on a personal level. We tailored the campaign message around these personal stories. I think that gave Academy members more of a sense of 'helping our own'.

The senior NCO thinks most people don't realize the huge contributions from both the civilian and contractor populations and the cadet population.

Civilian and contractor donations were almost 25 percent of the overall total, while the cadets put in almost 50 percent of the overall total, Sergeant Hill said.

Helping him surpass the goal was Capt. Sonja Posquantonio and Senior Master Sgt. Ricardo Melendez, dean of faculty; Capt. Jason Kneuer, athletic department; Capt. Robert Pawlik, preparatory school; 1st Lt. Stephanie Downs, 10th Air Base Wing; Master Sgt. Jerry Molina, cadet wing; Tech. Sgt Tiffany Smith, direct reporting unit and Tech. Sgt Timothy Rivera, 306th Flying Training Group.

"I'm proud to be part of the Academy and encouraged by the spirit of giving here," Sergeant Hill said.