ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The 2013 Army Emergency Relief Campaign will kick off March 25.

The theme for this year's campaign, which runs through May 31, is "Supporting Soldiers and their Families; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," recognizes the vital role AER plays in enabling Soldiers to better focus on accomplishing their mission.

This year's goal for APG is to raise $65,000 in contributions. Established in World War II, the AER program provides service members, their families, retirees and widowers with assistance for certain types of emergency needs and scholarship grants.

"The AER program makes it possible for Soldiers to help one another and their Families," said APG Garrison's Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander Capt. Maritzabel Mustafaa, this year's campaign coordinator.

"In 2012, the local AER campaign raised $59,950 in contributions, and provided $177,738 in assistance to local Soldiers, Family members, and retirees in the form of grants and loans," Mustafaa said.

In 2012 AER provided $76.8 million in assistance to more than 59,000 Soldiers and their Families. More than 38% of that assistance was provided under the streamlined Command Referral Program where company commanders and first sergeants have the authority to approve AER loans for their Soldiers up to $1,500. Last year at APG, 4 percent of all Soldier loans were attributed to command referral.

AER assistance is based upon a valid need and is flexible in responding to all types of financial situations. For example, AER can assist with travel costs for emergency leave, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, food, car payments or repairs, and other basic living expenses, depending on the need and situation.

"There is no limit on the amount of assistance that can be provided, and no limit on the number of times a Soldier may make a request for assistance," Mustafaa said. "Assistance is normally in the form of no-interest loans repaid by the Soldier via allotment. The motto of AER officers is 'Find a Way to Say Yes.'"

AER funds are only allowed to be solicited from military personnel, active and retired, therefore civilians and dependents are not actively solicited, however, anyone may contribute to AER by contacting their unit or battalion representative, or the post AER officer.

Soldiers requiring AER assistance should contact their unit chain of command or visit the installation AER office, located at Garrison Headquarters, Bldg. 305.

Soldiers and Families not near an Army installation can get AER assistance at an Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard base from the Air Force Aid Society, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance respectively or from the American Red Cross call center at 877-272-7337.

Additional program information is available at www.aerhq.org or in the Army Blue Book application for smart phones.
For more information, contact your organization's AER representative, or call HCC at 410-278-3000.

Page last updated Thu March 21st, 2013 at 00:00