ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The Aberdeen Proving Ground Army Emergency Relief fund exceeded its goal of raising $55,000 by more than $5,000, during the campaign which ran from March 1 through May 30.

AER is the Army's own emergency financial assistance organization and is dedicated to "Helping the Army Take Care of Its Own." The campaign theme this year was "Supporting Soldiers and their Families; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," which recognizes the vital role AER plays in enabling Soldiers to better focus on accomplishing their mission.

Army Community Service Chief Janice Downey said that the success of the campaign demonstrates that the APG community will continue to support the military, even while facing obstacles like sequestration and possible furloughs.

"I would like to thank not one person, but everyone," she said. "During these hard times, it takes the 'whole village' to help each other."

Downey said that the APG military retiree population donated the largest amount, making over 68 percent of the contributions.

"I believe, (that percentage) reflects on the fact that AER runs a trustworthy campaign, and they know and have experienced the value of AER," she said. "They've been there and are proud to wear the T-shirt, so to speak."

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.

AER funds made available to commanders are not limited and are constrained only by the requirement of valid need.

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.

For more information call APG's Army Community Service at 410-278-2500.