Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Charles E. Smith, Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein and Wallace Turner, Fort Meade Army Emergency Relief officer, pause for a photograph while discussing this year's campaign in front of the AER sign, which was updated Monday. The campaign raised $98,988 - 123.7 percent of its $80,000 goal.

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (May 17, 2012) -- The installation's 2012 Army Emergency Relief campaign, which ended Tuesday, collected 123.7 percent of its $80,000 goal.

As of Tuesday evening, the campaign raised $98,988 since it began March 1, said Wallace Turner, AER officer, who expects the total to increase from last-minute donations.

The money will be used to help active-duty Soldiers, retirees, Reservists and Guardsmen and their family members with financial assistance during emergencies.

"The Team Meade community is committed to taking care of its Soldiers, service members and families," said Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein, who has donated to AER throughout his 29 years in the Army.

"I've seen the program develop over time and the ability to take care of ourselves. ... It's an opportunity for our leaders to identify challenges our Soldiers and families may have, to care for them by just contributing throughout the Army."

AER added new categories of assistance effective Jan. 1 to meet changing needs such as family-member dental care, basic furniture needs, and replacement and rental vehicles.

Last year, more than $700,000 was distributed to Fort Meade Soldiers. This year, requests are being made at a record pace, said Turner, who attributes the need, in part, to the economy.

"We live in a high-cost area. It's supplemented in our income, but it is still expensive," Turner said. "For Soldiers, I think one of the biggest things is requests for assistance with essential vehicles ... and utilities."

Although the campaign officially has ended, donations can still be made at Army Community Service, 830 Chisholm Ave., or online at aerhq.org.

This was the first year donations could be made online, which Turner said was "highly successful."

For more information, call Wallace Turner, AER officer, at 301-677-5768.

Page last updated Thu May 17th, 2012 at 00:00