When life happens even the "rescuers need rescue" said an Army Emergency Relief official during a ceremony marking Fort Jackson's kickoff of the annual AER Campaign Feb. 23 at the NCO Club on post.

"Often times people don't come to us and we are not their first choice," said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Tracey Anbiya, Emergency Financial Administrator at AER Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. "Never let your fears, your faults, or your frustrations keep you from seeking help."

AER, which is part of the Army and governed by Army Regulation 930-4, is a non-profit organization established to "help Soldiers and their Families in times of financial need," said Maj. Matthew Hintz, Fort Jackson's campaign coordinator.

The bottom line of the campaign is taking care of our teammates to increase readiness.

"We start our here in Basic Combat Training talking about this thing called buddy teams," said Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, Fort Jackson and Army Training Center commander. "It's really a start of you understanding what it means to take care of each other."

The AER campaign is "like a buddy team concept but on a bigger scale," he added.

The concept of Soldiers helping Soldiers has grown exponentially since AER began 76 years ago.
In that time "generations of Soldiers have dedicated their dollars, their resources to Army Emergency Relief so they can help other Soldiers," Anbiya said during the ceremony.

"From 1942 to know look at the number of resources we have been able to deliver to Soldiers and their Families," Johnson said. "… More than half the resources that have ever been delivered to Soldiers and their Families happened in the last 16+ years."

Fort Jackson's AER office goes above helping Soldiers secure financial services, Anbiya said, they arm them with the means to prepare themselves for the future.

"Fort Jackson is doing something special," she said. "At AER we provide a financial service, but Team Fort Jackson is taking a unique approach. Not only are they providing the financial services, but they are giving the Soldiers the tools for long-term success.

"They are giving them the tools to build resiliency so when the money runs out they know to handle themselves."

The AER campaign and the Combined Federal Campaign are the only times of the year where organizations can solicit money from service members at work.

For more information about the AER campaign contact Maj. Matthew Hintz or Staff Sgt. Julian Quevedo at 751-5256.