FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 2, 2014) -- More than 75 people teed off together April 25 for the 24th annual Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union Golf Tournament to benefit Army Emergency Relief.

Soldiers and civilians alike showed their support for the program, many of whom enjoyed the company just as much as the cause.

"This is such a good cause, I always like to play it with a group of friends. This program really serves our Soldiers and their Families, and me and my husband always do what we can to support them," said tournament player Kris Laster. "I love the course, as well. It's a great practice facility because it is a good challenge."

Col. Stuart J. McRae, garrison commander, kicked-off the tournament by encouraging participants to get the word out to others about the benefits of AER.

"Last year, this tournament raised around $15,000, and we hope to match that this year. Last year we gave out $408,000 in loans, grants and scholarships to local Families," he said. "We need everyone's support to make sure this year's campaign is a success. You guys can take pride knowing this is going to a good, local cause."

Fort Rucker gives out more money to Soldiers than it gives in to the program, said Command Sgt. Maj. Buford E. Noland, garrison command sergeant major.

"Just a few weeks ago, I got a call from a sergeant major in Korea. He told me that one of our Soldiers had just moved to his new unit in Korea. Well, he had planned on retiring in June before he left, so he and his wife bought a local 100-year-old farm house and that was going to be their retirement place when he returned from Korea," he said. "Well, just a few weeks ago that house burned to the ground.

"The wife and children were left with nothing," he continued. "But we have been able to help with the assistance of AER. The Family is now set up with temporary quarters, and has food vouchers and a grant to help set them up for success."

Each year, the tournament raises around $15,000, which Lisa Hales, AACFCU vice president of marketing, said is 100 percent of the proceeds.

"We are a credit union that started in 1966 with seven Soldiers from Fort Rucker. So, it has always been very important to us to support Fort Rucker in any way we can," she said.

Every year the sponsor offers the chance for participants to win a new car. This year the hole was Red No. 8. In the entire 24 years, only one person has ever won the car. There was no winner this year, either.

"The golfers that come out always have a great time. The camaraderie between everyone during the lunch afterwards is good to see," said Hales. "It's obvious that everyone has a good time together and supports each other, even though it is a competition."

The team consisting of Sam Patton, Jerry Parris, Bill Conner and Pat Kelly won first place for gross score. The team consisting of Steve Hayden, Mike O`Conner, Dan Rawlings and Joe Loscheider won first place for net score.