By Skip Vaughn, Redstone Rocket EditorJune 27, 2008
The 2008 Army Emergency Relief numbers speak for themselves.
This year's fund-raising campaign raised $292,120.03 to eclipse a $225,000 goal, surprising AER officer Kristi Foster.
"This is my seventh year to do this and every year you surprise me," Foster told the campaign participants assembled for the AER award ceremony June 17 at Heiser Hall. "It was absolutely amazing. And I'm still just overwhelmed by your efforts, your generosity, your work. Thank you very much."
Garrison commander Col. John Olshefski reminded the audience of the purpose of Army Emergency Relief. "Remember it takes care of Soldiers," he said.
He introduced Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, commander of the Aviation and Missile Command and Redstone Arsenal.
"This community has done a powerful thing here," Myles said.
Myles thanked the participants for their work and set the tone for next year's campaign.
"We are not going to stop at 292 next year," he said. "I tell you right now the minimum goal is going to be about 300.
"This is like Sunday night after we just beat the New England Patriots 42-0. We've got the (Dallas) Cowboys next week.
"All of you, thank you for taking care of our Soldiers and their families by making available to our work force (the opportunities) so they can contribute."
Campaign chairman Capt. Rob Dewberry and co-chairman Master Sgt. Odri Hastings served in these roles with Foster for the second consecutive year.
"This is the second year we had the same team," Dewberry said. "Having the same team and having the leadership we were fortunate to have, it just doesn't get any better."
Dewberry gave a special thanks to Horace Wilson, of the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, who served as narrator for the award program. The certificates were presented by Myles and Olshefski.
Army Emergency Relief gives no-interest loans, and in some cases grants, to active duty and retired military and their qualifying family members in times of emergency needs. Recipients can also include National Guard and Reservists who are called to active duty under Title 10 of the U.S. Code. Examples of emergency expenses include unexpected travel, car repair, mortgage assistance and utility bills.
Last year AER helped 402 military and their qualified family members with $424,864.