Helen Lemay, Air Force Spouse

It takes a village to, well, start a village.  And that is exactly what happened in 1961: Helen LeMay, spouse of the Air Force Chief of Staff General LeMay, began leading a community effort to start the Air Force Village, a place widows could find needed and affordable housing.

What seemed like an impossible endeavor transformed into a possible reality under Helen's care and direction.  First, Helen engaged with the local spouses' club, who was overwhelmingly supportive of this important cause.  Next, Helen was joined by Pat Daus (Ladd), a young Air Force widow, and the two began raising funds through bake sales and charity balls.  Their first contribution was $9 and was collected on Pat's kitchen table in 1965, and over the next five years, the donations would quickly grow to 1 million dollars.  A planning committee was created by General LeMay, Air Force service members donated through a service-wide drive, Ray Ellison Industries donated 15 acres for the village and over 217 spouses clubs from around the world donated time and talent.

In May of 1969, Helen attended the groundbreaking in San Antonio, Texas.  The ceremony actually included the soil from the 217 spouses clubs who were instrumental in this effort, thus honoring all the military spouses involved.  In 1970, the Air Force Village opened--and another chapter of spouses in the fight was written!

In 1987, the General and Mrs. Curtis E. LeMay Foundation was founded to help widows and widowers of all Air Force Retirees through financial grants. To this day, this foundation cites the privilege that it is to serve those who embraced the military lifestyle with their service members. Today, the Air Force Village is called Blue Skies of Texas and is open to civilians and military in all services.

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