Fort Rucker Jail-A-Thon raises money for AER
Sgt. Jamarcquis Lewis and Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Green serve their time in the "jail cell" during the 2010 AER Jail-a-Thon. This year's Jail-a-Thon is April 18.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 4, 2013) -- Donating money to help Soldiers and Families in need is cause enough to answer the call of selfless service, but getting the chance to arrest your boss in the process -- priceless.

That's the opportunity that people on Fort Rucker have during the 2013 Army Emergency Relief Jail-A-Thon, where people on the installation can have their friends, coworkers or even boss arrested April 18 for a price, according to Maj. Anthony J. Whittaker, AER campaign coordinator.

"We have arrest warrants that people in various organizations on post can submit that details who they want to have arrested," he said. "The arrest warrants will be delivered to [Military Police], and the MPs will come and pick up the individuals in the morning the day of the event."

Upon being issued the arrest warrant, the "accused" will be taken "downtown" to a makeshift jail in front of the post exchange, where they will be brought in front of a judge to be read their rights and plead their case. After the judge hears the case, he will sentence the accused to jail time for the allotted time paid.

"At that point, the arrestee has two options: they can either post bail or spend their time in jail," said Whittaker. "If an individual chooses to post bail, then he or she must match the amount that it cost to have the individual arrested."

Whittaker said that of all the fund raising events, the Jail-A-Thon seems to be the most anticipated.

"This is my second year participating, but from what I saw last year, people had a lot of fun with it," he said. "People have been asking about it since the campaign started -- it was the first thing they asked about."

Warrant collection runs through April 18 and the arrest prices are: $10 for E1-E4 and GS1-GS4; $15 for E5-E6, GS5-GS6, WO1-CW2 and O1-O2; $20 for E7-E9, GS7-GS9, CW3-CW5 and O3-O4; $25 for GS10-GS15; $30 for O5-O7 and post command sergeant major; and $50 for deputy commanding general and commanding general. Spouse arrest is equal to service member's rank or pay grade.

The goal for this year's Jail-A-Thon is $6,000, and Whittaker said this is a great way for AER to raise money throughout its campaign.

For an arrest warrant, call 255-3639 or 255-2120.

Army Emergency Relief is the Army's one and only nonprofit organization that provides emergency financial assistance to Soldiers, retirees, Family members and survivors, according to Mimi Brooks, Fort Rucker AER officer.

"Our primary mission is to assist with the various needs of Soldiers and their Families," she said. "Most of our assistance is in the form of no-interest loans and some grants," adding that grants are typically awarded under extraordinary circumstances, such as in situations that the Family can't take on debt.

Some of the needs that AER assists with are food, utilities, rent, mortgage payments, car expenses and emergency leave. AER even has the ability to offer up to a $4,000 loan for certain economical pieces of furniture for initial setup of a household due to permanent change of station, marriage or a newborn child.

"We can now assist with all dependent dental needs, so if someone's child needs braces, we can step in and help," said Brooks. "We can also assist with certain emergency medical situations and certain medical prosthetic devices like eyeglasses, which is not covered under TRICARE."

The program also has a secondary mission to provide partial scholarships through the AER scholarship program, which are for dependent children and spouses of active-duty, retired and fallen Soldiers.

The deadline for scholarships this year is May 1, so people still have time to submit packets, said the AER officer. To apply, people should visit www.aerhq.org.

"It's one of the easiest scholarships for children to get because they don't have to write and essay and they can qualify outside of financial needs," she said. "They can qualify from their grades or any leadership roles they've had."

To qualify for AER assistance, most active-duty Soldiers must go through their company command first sergeant to get approval, but captains and above; CW3s and above; and master sergeants and above do not have to go through their command -- they can come directly to AER, said Brooks.

Army Emergency Relief is funded completely through contributions of surrounding communities, so they rely heavily on donations to provide Soldiers and Families with the help they need.

To contribute to AER, contact your unit representative. For more information, call 255-2341.

Page last updated Thu April 4th, 2013 at 00:00