AER is a Soldiers helping Soldiers program
March 15, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - On March 1, Army Community Service's Army Emergency Relief 2012 Campaign launched the non-profit organization's annual fundraising efforts at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield which will end May 15.
The AER is a program available to Soldiers, Families Members, retirees, orphans and spouses of Fallen Soldiers who seek financial assistance during a time of crisis or emergency.
Some reached-out to the AER program for funeral expenses, medical/dental expenses, rent and utilities to even a home that may have caught fire.
For Spc. James Sullivan, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, his story began when he was disapproved for Compassionate Reassignment.
"I was on compassionate reassignment from Germany," he said. "I came home early during Christmas. I tried to sign-in on post early. When I got here, I couldn't sign-in. So, they temporarily attached me to a unit. Since I was temporarily attached, I was not entitled to any of the post benefits like BAH or on-post housing. I was living in lodging for a month, and I had my small son with me. I waited for about a month to get my orders. It turned out that they disapproved my compassionate reassignment."
Compassionate reassignment is when the Army moves an individual(s) because of a Family emergency or a Family need that one has, Spc. Sullivan said.
While Spc. Sullivan was waiting for his orders, he paid for his expenses from his own pocket.
"I'll be attached here for four months," he said. "I ended up getting a place here off-post, moved all my stuff, turned [utilities] on and paid for daycare. It's just my son and I. It all caught up to me; I needed a little help."
After realizing that he needed assistance, Spc. Sullivan spoke with an AER representative at Fort Stewart.
"I told them my situation; I told them I was a single father," Spc. Sullivan said. "They approved my AER loan; they helped me out."
Randy Knox, assistant AER officer, said that the AER program is about Soldiers giving back.
"Whether it's a car repair or emergency Family transportation for someone needing to see a loved one who may be sick, the AER is Soldiers giving back to those in crisis," Knox said.
According to AER's Web site, www.aerhq.org, the program is supported by voluntary contributions from Soldiers, civilian individuals and organizations.
"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 the AER program, call 912-767-5058 or visit the following Web sites at www.stewart.army.mil/DMWR/acs/aer.asp or www.aerhq.org.