FORT KNOX, Ky. — With three weeks remaining, the Fort Knox Army Emergency Relief team says the installation is just under halfway from reaching this year’s campaign goal.
As of April 22, AER has brought in roughly $66,000 of the $135,000 mark, with donations coming from 340 contributions. Garrison leaders admit the current situation has made donating more challenging than in past years.
"With a good portion of Fort Knox's typical daytime population teleworking or on administrative leave as we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I want to remind everyone they can still support this year's campaign,” said Col. CJ King, commander of Fort Knox’s U.S. Army Garrison. “Now, perhaps more than ever in recent memory, Soldiers and families are depending on AER for critical financial assistance."
As a result of the teleworking situation, unit representatives are getting the word out about the ease of online donations.
“Online is the new normal,” said Shannon Wilson, Fort Knox AER program manager. “As a result, AER headquarters is improving the options with each year.”
New this year is the ability to donate using PayPal and EFT, as well as the more traditional way using a credit or debit card.
Wilson said this is considered the fastest way to donate. Those interested in contributing can go to the AER Donate page here and make a one-time gift or set up monthly recurring donations.
The second online option, through allotments, is slower and only offered to active duty and retired Soldiers. Those wishing to donate this way will visit the same website from where they can set up a payroll allotment through Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Wilson reminded those who donate to select “Fort Knox Garrison” as well as a specific unit they would like to support or pay tribute to.
The focus of AER remains helping Soldiers, said Command Sgt. Maj. William Fogle, senior enlisted advisor at Fort Knox’s U.S. Army Garrison.
“Army Emergency Relief helps take care of our biggest and most precious resource: our Soldiers and their Families,” said Fogle. “Life happens to everyone and at some point in time, we all need assistance for something.”
Wilson said the fast changing environment due to the COVID-19 outbreak has already become a time of need for some Soldiers trying to move their Families and caught up in a stop movement order; and it will be another time, soon.
“I think in the next week or so we’re really going to see an impact on families, and they may not know where to turn for help,” said Wilson.
As a result, she is working with unit and organization representatives to get the word out about where those in need can go for help.
Eligible Soldiers include active duty, retired, National Guard and Reserve members on federal Title 10 orders for more than 30 consecutive days, and their Family members; and survivors. AER can help with a mortgage, utilities, rent, food, insurance, vehicle costs and basic home furnishings.
Wilson is also working to get the word out about donating to AER. Garrison leaders are helping.
"I'm hopeful those of us with the resources to do so take this opportunity to contribute,” said King. “After eight months as garrison commander, I've seen funds from Army Emergency Relief literally relieve innumerable families across all rank and grade levels from suffocating financial hardship.
“There may not be a better program out there to support for those willing to contribute and help our Soldiers and Families."
Editor’s Note: For local assistance or more information, call 502-552-1416/0430 Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. After operating hours, call the American Red Cross at 877-272-7337.