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Traveling tales of home

By Tony Perez | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office | Nov. 1, 2007

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS — On Oct. 25, 71-year-old Irma Cox drove from Florida to visit Lackland's Airman and Family Readiness Flight with a message.

It is one of the many stops she will be making at AFRFs in the next two weeks. Ms. Cox is making visits to AFRFs around the country in order to raise awareness about her place of residence, the Airmen's Air Force Enlisted Village, located in Shalimar, Fla., as well as other villages around the country.

Ms. Cox's visit led her to Lackland because of the two Air Force Villages located here. She intends to raise awareness of the benefit by speaking of her own experiences in a village, which is located close to Eglin AFB, Fla.

"When I first got there, I made up my mind that I would help bring in more people," said Ms. Cox.

The main requirement for widows and widowers applying for housing is that they be 55 years of age or older, and they must have valid military identification.

While the village mainly focuses on housing for surviving military spouses, it does extend housing to other demographics.

The village will also take adult dependents, such as the parents of active-duty members or spouses.

There is also housing for active-duty widows and widowers for up to a year, and housing for couples.

Couples, however, face a waiting period of two to five years for housing.

"The place is beautiful and all of the apartments are well-kept," said Ms. Cox.

Because of the need-based subsidy plan, the cost of living varies from person to person.

Most of the money used to maintain the facilities comes through charitable donations.

The villages also provide transportation to certain parts of the towns they are located in.

In Ms. Cox's case, the village provides transportation to the Eglin AFB shopping areas as well as the local mall.

"We all are not going to be able to drive, and our bodies start to break down, so there are many transportation opportunities provided for us," Ms. Cox said.

"The employees of the village are giving, courteous and wonderful people," said Ms. Cox.

Aside from various clubs and activities, the village also offers a dinner once a month for all the residents.

"The only reason you are watching the boob tube all day long is if that's what you want to do," Ms. Cox said.

Ms. Cox moved into the complex over a year-and-a-half ago and maintains her joy for her new home.

"I just absolutely love the place," Ms. Cox said.

Still, Ms. Cox remains active with other activities outside of the village and her promotion of the place.

While she is on her journey, she will also attend her 54th high school class reunion and visit her children.

"I am always on the go, but this is not a place to go and die. It is a place to go live," said Ms. Cox.