By Ms. Joan B Vasey (Huachuca)March 1, 2016
Fort Huachuca, Arizona--Fort Huachuca formally opens its 40th Army Emergency Relief (AER) Campaign with a cake-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. March 3 at Army Community Service (ACS), Building 50010.
Everyone is invited to attend the event and make a donation. During this year's campaign, which runs March 1-May 15, officials hope to raise at least $100,000 to "Leave No Soldier in Need."
Army Emergency Relief is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to Soldiers, active and retired, and their Families. Since it was founded in 1942, AER has provided more than $1.7 billion to more than 3.6 million Soldiers and Families.
"Never Leaving a Soldier in Need is in keeping with the Army's core values," said AER Director, Retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert Foley.
Whether the need is money for a Soldier's emergency leave, new brakes for the Family car or to cover the initial rent deposit on a new apartment, AER is there.
"To maintain this level of assistance today, donations from Soldiers, active and retired, are essential to ensure the legacy of Soldiers helping Soldiers," Foley said.
Last year, AER loaned or granted $362,161.44 to 263 Fort Huachuca clients to help the Army take care of its own.
In addition to loan and grant money issued to Soldiers and their Families on post, AER issued $40,000 in scholarships to nine Fort Huachuca spouses and seven military children here during 2015. Right now and through May 1, AER is accepting scholarship applications online. Scholarship recipients for 2016 will be notified in May. For instructions and applications, visit www.aerhq.org.
"AER is an awesome program," said Teresa Spencer, Fort Huachuca's AER officer. She explained that effective last September, except for trainees assigned here, everyone has direct access to the AER program.
"In the past, Soldiers needed their commanders' signatures in order to apply," Spencer said. "Now, except for trainees, Soldiers can fill out an application and apply directly. After they fill out an application [available online at www.aerhq.org], they can call 520.533.5312 for an appointment to be seen here at ACS. We can usually see callers on the same or next day.
"Making an appointment will save Soldiers some time. We can discuss the supporting documents they need to bring in with their applications and ensure they have them when they come in for an appointment."
AER is the only Army charity that "Helps the Army Take Care of its Own," according to an AER fact sheet. AER is not part of the Combined Federal Campaign.
For general information about AER on Fort Huachuca, call the ACS front desk at 520.533.2330.