HomeNewsArticle Display

Enlisted village cares for AF widows, families

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Binnicker speaks about the Enlisted Village at the 2012 Professional Airmen's Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 12, 2012. Binnicker, the ninth CMSAF, now serves as the president and chief executive officer of the Air Force Enlisted Village, a non-profit charity located in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The Enlisted Village provides a home for the surviving spouses of enlisted military personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Wymbs)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Binnicker speaks about the Air Force Enlisted Village at the 2012 Air Force Sergeants Association Convention and Professional Airmen Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., Aug. 12, 2012. Binnicker, the ninth chief master sergeant of the Air Force, now serves as the president and chief executive officer of the Air Force Enlisted Village, a non-profit organization located in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Ciara Wymbs)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AFNS) -- The ninth chief master sergeant of the Air Force, James Binnicker, spoke about the Air Force Enlisted Village during the 2012 Air Force Sergeants Association Convention and Professional Airman Conference here Aug. 12.

The Air Force Enlisted Village was founded in 1967 after a survey conducted by AFSA concluded there were almost 50,000 widows of enlisted men living in poverty. With the help of former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Ryan and his wife, a group of active duty and retired NCOs started the village with the goal of providing a home for spouses of surviving enlisted Air Force members.

"Our mission at the village is simply to provide a home," said Binnicker. "It started out with only Air Force enlisted widows, but over the years we have changed that to include a lot of different kinds of people.

"We take care of Air Force enlisted widows first and foremost," he added. "That's the priority. Then we have moral dependents, when it's just the right thing to do."

The Air Force Enlisted Village consists of three separate villages. The Bob Hope Village and Theresa Village are independent living villages. The Hawthorn House provides assisted living and memory care.

Although there are certain requirements to live in the village, Binnicker said many exceptions are made. He told a story of an Airman who wanted his mother-in-law to stay in the assisted living village. Even though she did not qualify for one of the existing categories, an exception was made for her.

"If you're asking a question, and you're in uniform -- my uniform -- we can make a category," said Binnicker.

He gave examples of people the Air Force Enlisted Village helped through the years, including spouses of active duty Airmen, retired couples and even mothers of deployed members. The village also helps widows of other services on a space available basis.

"It's not just a retirement home for widows," said Binnicker. "It is a community. It's an extension of the Air Force family, and we are very proud to provide that."

He also talked about how the village is a place where people with a common background come together to live.

The whole village is a gated community with round-the-clock guards, which provides security for the occupants. The village also has five vehicles and two buses to provide transportation to commonly visited areas.

Binnicker also stressed the importance of all the amenities the village provides, such as fitness classes, hassle-free maintenance, chapels, bowling and many others. Village occupants also look forward to seasonal events such as a luaus and Halloween parties.

"The village is not a place where people go to die," said the former chief master sergeant of the Air Force. "It's a place where people go to live. ... We don't just provide an apartment; it's a way of life."

Funding for the Air Force Enlisted Village comes from donations and the Air Force Assistance Fund. At the end of Binnicker's speech, Jeff Ledoux, AFSA international president, presented Binnicker with a $10,000 check on behalf of AFSA.

"We have some widows who live there for free," said Binnicker. "If it were not for your generosity and this program, they would be dead or living under a bridge. So, I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @AFSpace: Today is LAUNCH day! The @DeptofDefense Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission, managed by @AF_SMC, is targeting launch at 11:30…
For the first time outside the U.S., #Norwegian & #USAF F-35 Lightning II maintainers worked together on an America… https://t.co/Xr8urRRq5N
RT @AF_SMC: The 3700 kg Integrated Payload Stack (IPS) for #STP2 has been completed! Have a look before it blasts off on the first #DoD Fal…
RT @AFResearchLab: Hanging out with cool kids like @HQ_AFMC at #NASASocial. 📸👇 https://t.co/7S00xr4GMu
RT @AFEnergy: If you don't measure progress, you can't affect change. #FuelMoreFight #MondayMotivation https://t.co/80sg3un0ov
The latest roundup of the best #AirForce photos is out. See them here: https://t.co/wU5rxsXJRq https://t.co/JUE9Yd0cKS
RT @WarriorCare: Have you missed some of the action? Check out our photo gallery on Flickr and get caught up on your favorite athlete makin…
#USAF Critical Care Air Transport team members, transport mother & 7-month-old son on a #C130 flight from… https://t.co/o1aNSelM1t
RT @DOD_Outreach: Pedaling on! @usairforce Capt. Heather Wright races an upright bicycle during the #DOD #WarriorGames2019 today. This is t…
#DYK, @WrightPattAFB became a Bee City in 2017, solidifying #AirForce's commitment to bee protection and revitaliza… https://t.co/jnoUyjQTiY
RT @ActingSecAF: Today the ⁦@usairforce⁩ has a historic opportunity to continue our leadership in #space & secure the final frontier for ou…
RT @DOD_Outreach: Feel the calm. 😌 @AFW2 Tech Sgt. Ricardo Rivera practices his freestyle swim techniques for today’s competition at the @…
#WarriorGames2019 Track competition is happening NOW! 🏃‍♂️💨 Head over https://t.co/jiYSkUGhmB to see it LIVE. GO… https://t.co/E2pYScoZSC
RT @WarriorCare: This isn’t your average morning run! Day 2 has started with Track competitions. We’re here at Yuengling Center at the Univ…
Our hearts go out to #TuskegeeAirman Lt. Col. (Ret.) Robert J. Friend and his family. Thank you for decades of serv… https://t.co/CUHadFr0sC
“So far, as a wing, we’ve made all this look easy. But it hasn’t been." - Maj. Michael Slotten, 421st Fighter Squad… https://t.co/7YQnJV9yel
RT @WarriorCare: The weather is hot in Tampa. Perfect for a new 2019 Warrior Games competition: Golf 🏌️‍♀️ First on the greens is Staff Sgt…
.@AF_SMC's summer is booked with four back to back launch missions. Use #SummerOfLaunch19 to track their progress… https://t.co/9LsEMIvsaf