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Air Force Sargeants Association event coming to Albany

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Air Force Sergeants Association, Albany Chapter and Auxiliary will host the Division 4 Convention Friday through Saturday at the Wingate Inn. AFSA/Auxiliary members and friends from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky are scheduled to attend.

Founded in 1961, the AFSA is a non-profit volunteer organization representing the professional and personal interests of active duty, prior service and retired members of the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Reserve, their spouses and family members.

"We take care of the guys on the ground who wear the stripes and do the work," said Charlie Jones, who has been a member of the AFSA since 1981. "This convention gives us the opportunity to meet old friends, and there is a sense of camaraderie from our collective active duty service.

"It's a real bonding opportunity for us."

The AFSA, whose primary mission is to improve the quality of life and well-being of Air Force enlisted members and their families, consists of 142 active chapters worldwide and boasts a membership of more than 120,000.

Division 4 has more than 2,000 members and the local Chapter 451 has 210 members and 115 in its Auxillary.

While the ASFA's main focus is on the "guys who wear the stripes," the organization is also deeply involved in Albany community activities.

"We work with the VFW and the American Legion to do things like build wheelchair ramps for those who need them," Jones said. "We work with Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army and The Anchorage. We also stuff stockings for kids at Christmas."

The Albany chapter also transports vets to and from the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center hospital in Dublin, works closely with the SOWEGA Council on Aging, participates in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk. It also clips and saves grocery coupons to be sent to families overseas to be used at base commissaries.

"We're all over the place," Jones said, smiling.

Friday's convention activities will consist of registration and a dinner at 5 p.m. Saturday is a business day where much of the time will be devoted to selecting the Division's Outstanding Airman of the Year nominees in several categories.