DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich — Since 1942, the Army Emergency Relief organization has provided Soldiers with financial assistance to help them through personal hardships and emergencies, as well as providing scholarship opportunities for their spouses and children.
The U.S. Army Garrison Detroit Arsenal hosted a run/walk event to bring this year’s donation phase of AER to a close. As senior commander on the installation, Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, Commanding General U.S.
Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, provided opening remarks for the event on the arsenal on May 14. Werner announced that although traditionally the deadline for donations is May 15, the AER organization had decided to extend the deadline until June 15.
Werner also took the time to explain that the main purpose of AER was not to collect donations, but to make sure that Soldiers were made aware of this benefit.
“This money comes from fellow Soldiers like you and me, and our Army Civilians who care about our warfighters,” Werner said. “It’s what gives us the AER motto ‘Soldiers helping Soldiers’.”
Werner went on to quote Winston Churchill about the benefit of giving to a charitable cause…” We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
According to Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Jackson, the primary military AER Campaign Coordinator, they decided to hold the walk for three reasons. First, it provided an excellent opportunity to bring Soldiers together in one place to let them know what AER can do for them in times of need. Second, it allowed Soldiers to get together through a morale building effort and physical fitness. Finally, it allowed Soldiers to show their support for each other in the “Soldiers helping Soldiers” mentality.
“’Soldiers helping Soldiers’ is at the core of what we do in the Army,” said Jackson. “We left our lives as civilians and volunteered to join the Army and take an oath. We live by the Soldier’s Creed and one of our Ethos is to never leave a fallen comrade. We are there for each other in and out of battle.”
Last year, AER provided more than $50 million in interest free loans to Soldiers and $10 million in grants. They also provided a further $10 million in scholarships to the spouses and children on Soldiers.
Sgt. 1st Class Fransheska Wiggins, the alternate military AER Campaign Coordinator, said its important to remember that AER funds are available to all Soldiers, no matter what their rank.
“Financial hardship isn’t the purview of the lower enlisted, it can happen to anyone,” said Wiggins. “AER is an important benefit that can help them out.”
The AER organization has made it easier to make donations to the program through their website at www.aerhq.org.