FORT RILEY, Kan. -- The 75th Army Emergency Relief campaign came to close May 30, although donations continued to come in until June 9. A total of $82,948.27 was donated by Soldiers and members of the Fort Riley community this campaign.

Army Emergency Relief is the Army's financial assistance program providing loans and grants to Soldiers in need. It is a "Soldiers helping Soldiers" program made possible by the efforts of Soldiers at Army installations around the world, according to the AER website www.aerhq.org.

The Fort Riley community exceeded their goal of $75,000 for this year's campaign, but reaching and surpassing it took additional efforts and a 15-day extension to complete. Due to the deployment and training rotations, AER representatives had a difficult time reaching people to collect donations.
"This year's campaign was a difficult campaign because there were so many people who were moving in and out of the installation," said Clint Strutt, Fort Riley Financial Readiness Program manager. "So this year was definitely a challenge as far as the campaign goes."

However, as each unit and brigade returned to Fort Riley, the Soldiers left Strutt humbled by the generosity and willingness to help one another with their donations, he said.

"I think that given the movements, given how difficult it was to get everybody to do the donation activing that they needed to -- the fact that we hit our goal and exceeded it … it's a testament to the generosity of the Fort Riley community," Strutt said.

The extension came as a blessing to the campaign as days before the original end date, Fort Riley was still short of the $75,000 goal. However, with the extension and the return of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Soldiers, the amount was quickly surpassed, he said.

"Without the 15-day extension, we would not have gotten a lot of the donations from 2nd brigade that we did because they were at (the National Training Center)," he said.
All of the leadership and Soldiers acting as AER representatives made reaching this year's goal possible, Strutt said. Without their efforts, the goal may not have been met this year and their work is what he is most grateful for.

While the campaign has ended, donations to AER are accepted all year long. To donate, visit the Financial Readiness Program office at Army Community Service or go online to www.aerhq.org.