REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The Soldier whose son was diagnosed with cancer. The retired Soldier who found himself in a financial bind.

They were among those who shared their personal stories on a videotape about Army Emergency Relief assistance. ItAca,!a,,cs Soldiers helping Soldiers.

The video was shown during the 2010 AER campaign kickoff March 3 in Heiser Hall.

Aca,!A"AER is here to help,Aca,!A? Garrison commander Col. Bob Pastorelli said.

The annual fund-raising drive continues through May 15 with a $215,000 goal. AER helps active duty and retired Soldiers and their family members with financial emergencies. The fund provides loans or grants and also gives scholarships.

In 2009, more than 365 people locally received more than $402,000 in loans and grants, according to AER officer Mike Burden. This included active duty and retired military, widows or deceased veterans and their family members.

While more than $212,000 Aca,!" exceeding a $210,000 goal -- was contributed to last yearAca,!a,,cs campaign, AER assisted with more than $402,000.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a great program because the return on investment is so great,Aca,!A? Pastorelli said.

1st Lt. Blair Tighe serves as this yearAca,!a,,cs AER campaign chairman. He is HHC executive officer at the Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command. Burden can be reached at Army Community Service at 876-5397.

Army Emergency Relief does the following:

Helps with emergency financial needs for food, rent or utilities, emergency transportation and vehicle repair, funeral expenses and medical/dental expenses.

Provides college scholarships to children, spouses and surviving spouses of Soldiers.

Offers additional benefits including lifetime membership in the Armed Forces Services Corporation for surviving families of Soldiers who die on active duty; grants for wounded Soldiers medically evacuated from a theater of combat; and personal financial management training for Soldiers in AIT.

Those eligible for Army Emergency Relief include: active duty Soldiers, single or married, and their family members; Army National Guard or Army Reserve Soldiers on continuous active duty for more than 30 days and their family members; Soldiers retired from active duty for longevity or physical disability, and their family members; Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers who retired at age 60, and their family members; and surviving spouses and orphans of Soldiers who died while on active duty or after they retired.

EditorAca,!a,,cs note: This article includes information from the AER 2010 Pocket Guide. The website for AER national headquarters is