Making a difference

  • Published
  • By Beth Young
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Her own 25-year love story has prompted a local woman to do her part to help young Airmen.

When LeAna Lipari, an 85-year-old Layton resident, learned of the Air Force Assistance Fund campaign, she decided to make a donation to honor her late husband, Sam.

"I just felt like it was for my husband," Mrs. Lipari said. "He was such a special person. He worked (at Hill Air Force Base) for 29 years."

Before working at Hill AFB, Mr. Lipari had 40 years of military service, which including being a paratrooper in World War II. He died a year ago, and Mrs. Lipari thought that a donation to AFAF would be a good way to honor his life.

"I just don't think there could be another person in the world like him," Mrs. Lipari said.

When she first saw her soon-to-be husband, Mrs. Lipari said she just felt something come over her and it was love at first sight, which continued for more than two decades.

"We had 25 wonderful five years," Mrs. Lipari said.

Moved by the donation, Dana Dovenbarger, Air Force Assistance Fund installation project officer, informed Maj. Gen. Kevin Sullivan, Ogden Air Logistics Center commander's office about it.

"I was so touched by Mrs. Lipari's donation to our Air Force Assistance Fund drive that I felt I needed to thank her personally," he said.

As a way to show her the base's appreciation for her generousity, General Sullivan made a special visit to Mrs. Lipari's home to present her his major general coin.

"She is a wonderful lady and a great patriot," General Sullivan said. "We could all learn from her selfless example of service before self."

The visit from a two-star general also made a big impression on Mrs. Lipari.

"That was really a thrill," she said. "It was something I will never forget."

Mrs. Lipari hopes that her donation will help the Airmen "with anything they need," and she said she would do it again in a heartbeat.

"It was really a wonderful thing," Mrs. Dovenbarger. "We are grateful for the service she and her husband gave to the country."

With several grandchildren serving in the military and living just a few miles from the South Gate, Mrs. Lipari feels a strong connection to Hill AFB and the Air Force everyday.

"I go out on my deck, look up and see the planes -- I put my hand on my heart and say thank you every time," she said.

The Hill AFB AFAF campaign, which ends April 23. The money raised during this campaign benefits active-duty, Reserve, Guard, retired Air Force members and surviving spouses and families, in many ways from emergency funds when the car breaks down to scholarships. For more information or to donate contact your Air Force Aid representative or Dana Dovenbarger at 777-2281 or visit