On the morning of May 26th, 2009, a roadside bomb in Afghanistan killed twenty-one year old US Air Force Senior Airman Ashton Lynn Marie Goodman. She had been serving on a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Panjshir Province; first, as a vehicles operator and later, on Women’s Affairs. In meeting the women of Panjshir Province, she had been quick to praise their intelligence and courage, and to advocate passionately for their education and increased roles in leadership. Days before her death, she had asked to stay on in Panjshir, as she felt she was making a difference, “with words, not weapons.” She even imagined bringing her children to Panjshir Province one day, to show them how their mother had helped in the peaceful building of schools, medical clinics, and women’s leadership programs.
Ashton never got to realize a future with marriage and children. I believe Ashton would be humbled and delighted to support the goals of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. These were ideals she also believed in: the power of shared stories and the inherent right of Afghan women to literacy, education, and positions of leadership in society.
I hope you will consider a donation, in any amount, to The Sr. Airman Ashton Goodman Fund. Donations can be made via JustGive through this page, following up with an email to executive director Richelle McClain at firstname.lastname@example.org saying you’d like your donation to go to the Ashton Goodman Fund.
Donations will go toward supporting the writing and theater programs for Afghan women. The Senior Airman Ashton Goodman Fund’s Board of Directors — Masha Hamilton and myself (Melissa Pritchard) — will determine the use of available grant monies for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. The specific use of these grant funds will be reported annually.
I met Ashton Goodman when I traveled to Panjshir Province as an embedded reporter in January, 2009. To learn more about Ashton, please read my article on her in the May 2010 issue of “O”, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine.
Please help us transform the tragedy of Ashton’s death into an enduring tribute to her brave spirit and an act of hope and support for the women of Afghanistan.
photo credit: U.S. Air Force Capt. Stacie N. Shafran