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AER readies for fundraising effort

Courtesy graphic

Courtesy graphic

Published: February 18, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Feb. 18, 2016) -- After providing more than $270,000 in grants and loans to Fort Rucker Soldiers, retirees, and family members in 2015, the Army Emergency Relief fundraising campaign is gearing up to continue its mission to “Never Leave a Soldier in Need.”

The 2016 AER fundraising campaign will run March 1 through May 15, and will kick off with a ceremony at the Army Aviation Museum March 2 at 2 p.m., initiating the primary goal of 100-percent contact with all active-duty Soldiers, along with retirees and their family members, according to Capt. Matthew Leitch, AER campaign coordinator.

The mission of the campaign is to increase awareness of the AER program benefits available to Soldiers to help them avoid further financial hardship, he said.

“AER is one of the best Army programs for helping Soldiers in need and demonstrating the effectiveness of the Army team,” said Leitch. “Soldiers from all walks of life and all ranks can be affected by financial hardship, and raising awareness of the Army’s solution to that problem will help Soldiers avoid further financial trouble that can take them out of the fight”.

Throughout the campaign period, fundraising events will be held to not only raise money for the campaign, but to promote awareness, said the campaign coordinator.

One of the most popular events held throughout the campaign season is the Army Aviation Center Credit Union Golf Tournament to benefit AER, which contributed $15,000 to the Fort Rucker AER campaign last year. This year’s tournament will be held April 22 at Silver Wings Golf Course.

If Soldiers wish to donate, the best way is to find their unit or directorate representative. People can elect to make a one-time donation or have an allotment out of their pay donated to the cause, said the campaign coordinator.

During last year’s campaign season, enlisted Soldiers, who make up 41 percent of the military population on Fort Rucker, contributed 57 percent of the military donations. Additionally, the retiree population contributed more than $56,000, or 41 percent of the total funds raised.

AER has provided more than $1.7 billion in interest-free loans and grants to more than 3.6 million active-duty, National Guard and Reserve Soldiers since its inception after World War II, said Beth Gunter, Army Community Service.

 In 2015, more than $138,000 was raised throughout the campaign season and nearly 200 Soldiers received assistance of over $270,000 from the Fort Rucker AER Office to assist with food, housing, utilities, vehicle expenses and repairs, emergency travel, funeral expenses and certain medical expenses, according to Gunter. In addition, more than $420,000 in assistance was provided in the form of loans and grants, and 79 spouses and dependent children received $150,400 in college scholarship assistance.

Soldiers needing AER financial assistance or interested in contributing to AER can contact their AER unit representative, go to Fort Rucker’s AER office in Bldg. 5700, Room 350 or for more information, call 255-2341.

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