AER helps Soldiers, families in need
Matthew White, accompanies his dad, Master Sgt. Troy White (front), noncommissioned officer in charge, Office of the Provost Marshal, during the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, Italy, Army Emergency Relief kick-off run March 17.

VICENZA, Italy Aca,!" Army Emergency Relief is a nonprofit organization that assists active and retired Soldiers and their families with financial emergencies.

For example, Aca,!A"When my little sister died unexpectedly, I needed help to pay my share of funeral expenses,Aca,!A? said Sgt. Lucky Tagaloa, of Headquarters Support Company, Southern European Task Force. Aca,!A"I turned to AER; they were willing to help.Aca,!A?

Funding for AER comes primarily from voluntary contributions and repayment of AER interest-free loans and investment income.

During the 2008 AER campaign, some $38,000 was donated by the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza community. But AER gave more than $104,000 in the form of interest-free loans and more than $750 in grants to 80 Soldiers and family members between in 2008, according to Valerie Sweed, the AER program officer here.

When needed, Aca,!A"We can assist with auto repairs, emergency travel expenses, utility bills, rent and more,Aca,!A? said Sweed. Aca,!A"Any assistance we give is in the form a no-interest loan, a grant or a combination of the two. The type of assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis.Aca,!A?

Grants are considered only when the inability to repay exists or would cause an extreme hardship. Also, grants are not given for expenses that will be reimbursed by insurance companies or the U.S. government.

AER has improved efforts to access AER assistance through the Command Referral program. The program gives company and battery commanders and first sergeants the authority to approve up to $1,000 in interest-free loans for their Soldiers. This provides a meaningful way for unit leaders to be directly involved in addressing financial problems of their Soldiers, said Sweed.

The 2009 AER campaign runs through May 8 here.

Page last updated Tue March 24th, 2009 at 03:52