FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Army Emergency Relief campaign is on track to exceed last year's total contribution, and one annual event is making sure that goal comes to fruition.

The installation hosted the 28th annual Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union Golf Tournament at Silver Wings Golf Course May 4 where people lined up to get in a round of golf for a good cause, said Bobby Michael, AACFCU president and CEO.

The golf tournament typically raises about $15,000 each year for AER, with last year's contribution totaling roughly $16,000, according to Michael.

"We always want to keep that amount so that AER can have that for budgeting purposes, and we always hope to increase that," said Kathy Scarbrough, AACFCU vice president of marketing, "but we always want to make sure that (AER) can count on us for that $15,000 each year."

During the golf tournament, players were able to play in teams of four with prizes given out for closest to the pin and holes in one on certain holes, as well as longest drive, and even though the game was a competition, for many, the real prize isn't about placing in the tournament, but being able to help fellow Soldiers.

"Army Emergency Relief has always been about putting Soldiers needs first and making sure we don't have any Soldiers who are left behind financially," said Damien Saunders, retired military. "There are enough stressors when it comes to being a Soldier, and having to worry about financial burdens shouldn't be one of them, and that's why it's our duty to make sure to help where we can."

Scarbrough said being able to provide that help is why AACFCU continues to put on the annual golf tournament -- to help those Soldiers in need.

"We understand the needs that Soldiers have for unexpected expenses, and we want to be there to support the men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to defend our country," said the marketing VP. "If they're willing to do that, then the least that we can do is come out here and help raise funds for the Army Emergency Relief fund."

Last year, the campaign raised $136,000 on Fort Rucker and more than $500,000 in assistance was provided to Soldiers and families on the installation, according to Beth Gunter, AER campaign organizer and Army Community Service financial counselor. That amount includes assistance and scholarships awarded.

The AER campaign continues through May 15, but Gunter reminds people that donations can be made year round.

Although AER exists to make sure Soldiers in financial need are taken care of, the primary goal of the program is to make sure there is 100-percent training when it comes to AER, said Gunter.

"This training not only expands awareness of the services offered by the AER program for all Soldiers, but emphasizes the need for continued support to AER," she said. "Donations of Soldiers from past generations have helped ensure the benefits of AER are available 76 years later for today's Army, and donations from Soldiers will continue that legacy, impacting Soldiers of today and the future."

For more information or to donate, visit https://www.aerhq.org.