By Ignacio Rubalcava (USAG Baumholder)March 28, 2012
BAUMHOLDER, Germany - Baumholder kicked off its annual Army Emergency Relief campaign March 8 at the Heart of the Rock dining facility with a cake cutting and presentation by Lt. Col. Sam McAdoo, U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder commander. The campaign runs through May 15. This year's campaign theme is "A Strong Tradition of Soldiers Helping Soldiers."
"Our goal this year is to raise $80,000. I realize that's a high goal but when you compare it to the amount of dollars we give out in Baumholder in assistance it doesn't compare," said Yaelmie Gomez, Baumholder AER campaign coordinator. "Last year we provided $149, 038.61 in assistance to the Soldiers, Families and retirees in this community."
Army-wide in 2011, AER provided $77.5 million in assistance to more than 64,000 Soldiers and their Families. This was feasible due to the contributions obtained throughout the Army.
AER has made changes in categories of assistance since 2011 to meet the changing needs of today's Soldiers and Families. Nine new categories have been added because of the feedback received from the AER officers worldwide conference.
In 2011, travel funding for relocation, repair of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and purchase and repair of appliances, car seats and cranial helmets were added. This year, dental care, basic furniture needs, rental vehicles, and replacement vehicles where added.
"Most of us say 'Well I am never going to need AER.' But do you really know that? I remember in the beginning of 2010 when five Soldiers were kicked out of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service system," said Gomez. "They were coming from (Advanced Individual Training) and their previous duty station made a mistake so they were deleted out of the system.
"Imagine that being you, not getting paid and having a family, just moving to an overseas duty station, not being assigned housing yet and living in a hotel. I was able to assist those families in getting by for the month it took them to be processed back into the system. I also assisted families affected by the Haiti earthquake, families who lost loved ones.
"In Baumholder our three major areas of assistance is emergency travel, essential (vehicle) repair and utilities."
"This truly is an organization where your contributions help your fellow Soldiers," said Gomez. "AER assistance is based upon a valid need and is flexible in responding to all types of financial situations. AER officers work toward finding a way to say yes."
There is no limit on the amount of assistance that can be provided, and no limit on the number of times a Soldier may request assistance. Contact the Baumholder AER office for more information or assistance at mil 485-8188 or civ (06783) 6-8188.