At a ceremony June 28 in Hoge Hall, Maj. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general (right), and MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena (left) presented two-star notes to Army Emergency Relief Officer Chuck Matthews and his team. 1st Lt. Rom Pollack and Sgt. 1st Class Steven Hooper each also received Army Commendation Medals for their roles as volunteer coordinators. The 2021 AER fundraising campaign here was named No. 1 in the Army, with $213,405 raised and 53.9 percent of Soldiers donating.
At a ceremony June 28 in Hoge Hall, Maj. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general (right), and MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena (left) presented two-star notes to Army Emergency Relief Officer Chuck Matthews and his team. 1st Lt. Rom Pollack and Sgt. 1st Class Steven Hooper each also received Army Commendation Medals for their roles as volunteer coordinators. The 2021 AER fundraising campaign here was named No. 1 in the Army, with $213,405 raised and 53.9 percent of Soldiers donating. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — In an announcement June 28, Fort Leonard Wood’s Army Emergency Relief 2021 fundraising campaign was named No. 1 in the Army. In total, the three-month campaign raised $213,405, with 53.9 percent of service members here donating.

At a ceremony in Hoge Hall, Maj. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, and MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena presented two-star notes to Army Emergency Relief Officer Chuck Matthews and his team: volunteer coordinators 1st Lt. Rom Pollack, Company C, 795th Military Police Battalion, and Sgt. 1st Class Steven Hooper, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Engineer Brigade, along with Patricia McDonald and Kristina Stump.

“We had a really good campaign this year,” Matthews said at the ceremony. “We achieved all of our goals.”

Pollack and Hooper each also received Army Commendation Medals from Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Sean McGlensey for their roles throughout the campaign.

“I know how hard you worked,” Paine said. “You were out, getting after it, contacting units, not letting up — you guys are the ones who made the difference.”

In total, Pollack, Hooper and Stump briefed more than 7,400 service members in 104 units. The key to their success was tenacity, Hooper said. They went back to units multiple times when new cycles of trainees arrived.

“We were just persistent,” he added. “If it was 1830, 1900 we would do it. If that was the only time they could do it, we would be there. There were a lot of nights where we wouldn’t get home until 9 o’clock at night.”

Pollack said they were just honest with the service members they briefed — the program sells itself.

“We kept our briefings short and sweet,” he said. “We talked about the program, how it can help, and that you never know when you’ll need it.”

Matthews said even though the annual campaign has ended, anyone may donate to AER at any time.

To donate, call 573.596.2595 or 0212. To request AER assistance, call 573.596.3154.

Visit https://www.armyemergencyrelief.org for more information on the program.