LAJES FIELD, Azores — In the midst of many budget cuts, Lajes Field, Azores, officials are improving the quality of life for Airmen and their families, with a focus on improving programs geared toward areas of concern for Air Force families as of June 24.
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz named July 2009 to July 2010 the Year of the Air Force Family.
The YoAFF campaign is a way Air Force officials communicate information and data to Airmen, family members, surrounding communities and Department of Defense audiences on the variety and scope of programs offered by the Air Force.
While Air Force families face several hardships, they are still willing to make sacrifices and endure adversity, Donley said. Airmen expect the leadership to provide a stable environment for them and for their families. And, doing so is part of our Air Force heritage and culture.
"We make this commitment not only because it's the right thing to do for our Airmen, but because it is the smart thing to do for our Air Force," Donley said.
In a briefing about the contributions of the YoAFF program, Air Force Capt. Levi Davis, the chief of program development for the 65th Civil Engineer Squadron, highlighted some of the YoAFF projects that have improved quality of life for the Lajes Field community.
Since the YoAFF campaign started in 2009, Lajes Field officials have contributed more than $800,000 in construction and renovations in support of Airmen and family areas, and more than $30 million is planned for use to improve Airmen and family housing.
Other projects include the repair of the gym, tennis courts, track and sports field, construction of a basketball court, and other constructions and repairs at the elementary and high schools.
When the entire project is completed, not only will it benefit members stationed at Lajes Field, but it will amount to several million-dollar contracts being awarded to local companies.
"Specifically here at Lajes (Field), the 'Year of the Air Force Family' has provided a great opportunity to push for projects which improve the base and support our Airmen and their families," Davis said. "Over the last year, we've worked a variety of improvements to the dorms, Beira Mar housing, the youth center and the school. We've also worked repairs on the gym, track, and tennis courts, as well as recently constructed a new basketball court. These projects support the Chief of Staff of the Air Force's vision to help our Airmen and their families, as well as their health, wellness, education, and development."