By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterApril 25, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 25, 2013) -- Many people found themselves under arrest and incarcerated during the Fort Rucker Army Emergency Relief Jail-a-Thon April 18.
More than 100 people were arrested and $4,750 was raised for Fort Rucker's AER program during the event that found many, including many of the installation's leaders, guilty and behind bars, according to Maj. Anthony J. Whittaker, AER campaign coordinator.
"This is my second year participating, but from what I saw, people had a lot of fun with it. Some people try to hide, but everyone really enjoys it," he said. "People have been asking about it since the campaign started -- it's always the first thing people ask about."
Amid those arrested and found guilty were the garrison command team, including Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander, Command Sgt. Maj. Buford E. Noland, garrison command sergeant major, and Justin O. Mitchell, Fort Rucker deputy garrison commander.
All but Noland of the three had to spend the allotted time in the makeshift jail at the post exchange. Noland was able to post bail and was set free, and even paid an extra $10 to have Mitchell serve an extra 10 minutes in jail.
The AER campaign season doesn't end with the Jail-a-Thon. The campaign will continue through May when the Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union will host its annual golf tournament to benefit AER.
"The tournament is hosted by Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union, but we are there to represent AER," said Mimi Brooks, Fort Rucker AER officer. "There will be prizes given away to the winners and anybody can register to play."
The tournament will be May 10 and played as a four-man scramble. It will cost $60 per person to play. Last year's tournament had a grand prize of a new car to the first person to shoot a hole-in-one.
Last year's AER campaign raised more than $110,000, and this year's campaign goal is $125,000, according to Whittaker.
"AER is a commander's program and every commander can tell you story after story about the successes of AER," he said. "We shouldn't think of $125,000 as our goal, we should think of that as our starting goal because this program really gives back."
"That may sound like a lot, but we have nearly 6,000 active-duty Soldiers on Fort Rucker, and in the area, we have around 60,000 retirees," said McRae during the campaign kickoff event earlier this year. "If you add in their Family members, that number jumps to nearly 200,000, and if only 2,100 of those 200,00 donated $5 a month, the goal would easily be reached."