FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- The U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), raised a record $18,360 in support of the 2017 Army Emergency Relief (AER) fundraising campaign, taking first place in the large organization category on Fort Belvoir.

The effort surpassed last year's total of $14,500 by 21 percent, previously the highest amount raised by INSCOM personnel.

The record collection was made possible through the tremendous hard work of the AER fundraising campaign team keyworkers led by 1st Lt. Jenny Carlo, executive officer, INSCOM Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), and the INSCOM workforce who were willing to support a worthy cause.

"This was truly a total force accomplishment," Carlo said in reference to the INSCOM Soldiers and civilian support. "This year's AER campaign shows just how committed INSCOM is to living up to the phrase, 'Mission First, People Always'."

Over $14,000 in donation money was raised in food sales alone, according to Carlo. The AER fundraising team hosted a variety of themed food service events at the Nolan building on Fort Belvoir throughout the campaign season from March 2 through May 15.

Thursday's lunch menu brought an international food flare to the workforce as INSCOM personnel lined up for a taste of Pacific Fusion, a Tour of Italy, Southern Barbeque, Cinco de Mayo and Hawaiian Barbeque. All proceeds, of course, were donated.

The most highly anticipated event of the campaign was also the most unique. The INSCOM AER 2nd Annual Master Dessert Maker Competition featured a determined pool of entrants.

A panel of five lucky judges sampled everything from pineapple upside down cake to blonde brownies, eventually crowning a winner after much deliberation. After the judging, the remaining desserts were made available for purchase with the profits going to the AER fund.

Alongside the INSCOM keyworker team at the many successful INSCOM AER events was HHC 1st Sgt. Peter Novak.

Not one to simply make a donation and grab a plate of food, Novak was instrumental in staffing the AER events and personally shopping for the necessary supplies with Carlo. He was even serving hungry customers spotted in the chow line on more than one occasion.

"Over the years I've had Soldiers who needed help from AER," Novak said. "The speed that this program moves at when Soldiers need help is very special. When a military family goes through something significant, money should be the last thing people need to worry about."

Thanks to generosity of INSCOM personnel, they may not have to.

AER is the Army's emergency financial assistance organization dedicated to "Helping the Army Take Care of its Own." AER financial assistance is conducted within the Army structure by mission commanders and garrison commanders through AER sections located at U.S. Army installations worldwide.