Stewart AER campaign kicks off
March 10, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The first week of March marks the 2011 Army Emergency Relief fundraising campaign.
The AER campaign kicked-off at Fort Stewart March 1. With pens in hand, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, deputy commanding general, 3rd Infantry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashmen, command sergeant major, 3rd Infantry Division, pledged their financial commitment officially launching the non-profit organization's annual fundraising efforts at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
The AER is a program available to Soldiers, Families, retirees, orphans and spouses of fallen Soldiers who seek financial assistance in a time of crisis or emergency.
Army Emergency Relief assists with funeral expenses, medical/dental expenses, rent, utilities, and basic necessities like food. The organization also provides interest-free loans and grants.
"The annual Army Emergency Relief event creates awareness of the program," said Randy Knox, AER assistant officer. "It also gives the opportunity for deputy garrison commander Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashmen to kick this off by signing the actual 4908 form."
Following Knox's introductory remarks, Brig. Gen. Phillips and Command Sgt. Maj. Ashmen pulled out their "magic pens." Brigadier General Phillips explained the rationality behind the pens.
"We have magic pens. Now, there's a story behind this," Brig. Gen. Phillips said. "Over the last 15 months, Command Sgt. Maj. Ashmen and I have signed many certificates. Early on, we decided that we had to have the right pen to do the job. Some of the certificates that we signed, because of the ink used on the paper, certain pens wouldn't work. So, we looked high and low for pens that would actually work on these certificates. So, for the last 15 months, we have settled on these two pens so we could sign, and we still do."
After pledging their financial commitment for the AER campaign, Brig. Gen. Phillips explained that AER exists exclusively to help the Army Family.
"The AER program has been there for Soldiers and Families," he said. "So, AER very responsibly goes after the root problem. It is a perfect example of how the Army takes care of its own. And, the Army is doing a superb job in doing just that."
The AER receives support and donations from several sources. Soldiers, active duty and retired individuals contribute towards AER's fundraiser.
According to AERs Web site, www.aerhq.org, the program is supported by voluntary contributions from Soldiers, civilian individuals, and organizations.
"I would like to thank each and everyone who supports the AER program," Knox said. "Because the AER program is Soldiers giving back to those in crisis, whether it's a car repair or emergency Family transportation for someone needing to see a loved one who may be sick."
The Stewart-Hunter AER fundraising goal for this year is $200,000. The campaign kick-off runs from March 1 to May 15. However, donations are accepted any time throughout the year.
"Anyone interested in donating to the AER program can donate anytime during the year at the Army Community Service, building 86," said Frederick Sledge, AER officer.
For more information about AER program, call 912-767-5058 or visit the following Web sites: www.stewart.army.mil/DMWR/acs/aer.asp or www.aerhq.org.