By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMay 24, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 24, 2012) -- During the Army Emergency Relief campaign members of the Fort Rucker community have played their share of golf and witnessed high-ranking officials arrested -- all for the sake of raising money to support Soldiers.
People gathered at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum to officially bring an end to a campaign designed to raise money to help Soldiers that are in need during the 2012 AER campaign closing ceremony May 22.
The campaign ran from March 1 to May 15 and raised $111,818 with the help of the Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union and the 6th Military Police Detachment, according to Capt. Thomas Perry, AER campaign coordinator.
"[AACFCU's] efforts reflect unwavering support for Fort Rucker and our Soldiers," he said. "The 22nd Annual AACFCU golf tournament was a huge success and raised $15,000 for AER."
AACFCU hosts a golf tournament every year to benefit AER that offers prizes to its participants, said Lisa Hales, vice president of marketing for AACFCU, adding that 100 percent of the sign-up fees and donations from the tournament go to AER.
"To my friends at [AACFCU], I want to give a special thanks," said Col. James A. Muskopf, Fort Rucker garrison commander and AER campaign chairman. "It was a great golf tournament this year. You picked a great day to do it and it was a phenomenal event."
The 6th MP Detachment also got into the fundraising action with its Jail-a-Thon, which Perry said was an "absolute success" and raised $5,479 for the campaign.
The Jail-a-Thon offered the people on Fort Rucker a rare chance to have their friends, co-workers and even bosses arrested, for a fee.
Muskopf was among the guilty that were arrested during the Jail-a-Thon event May 17, and was charged with issuing arrest threats to his administrative staff.
"I was innocent," he said as he was taken into custody during the event. "This year it cost me $130 during the Jail-a-Thon."
The colonel spent $90 to bail himself out of the makeshift jail that was setup in the post-exchange parking lot and said he spent the rest on getting others arrested as payback; following through with the "crime" he was accused of.
Others that were arrested during the Jail-a-Thon included: Justin Mitchell, Fort Rucker deputy garrison commander, who was charged with running off nearly the entire garrison command group in July -- possibly as a result of his jokes and bad puns; Command Sgt. Maj. Dwaine E. Walters, Fort Rucker garrison command sergeant major, who was charged with excessive purchases of Mountain Dew out of Bldg. 5700's vending machine, failure to take his wife on a cruise on their anniversary because he gets seasick, and permanently departing the garrison July 13; and Ken Mansel, chief of Support Services Division, who was charged with abuse of a Xerox copier because of buying poor quality paper, excessive use of random acts of kindness, inappropriate work attire consisting of Louisiana State University attire, abandoning a motorcycle on sick leave and excessive use of Microsoft Powerpoint.
The money that was collected during the Jail-a-Thon for either the cost of having someone arrested or the cost to post bail went to benefit the AER campaign.
Events like the Jail-a-thon enable AER to raise money and every year Fort Rucker raises about $250,000 for AER locally, according to Muskopf.
"[AER] is a great service provided by the Army for its Soldiers to keep our Soldiers out of financial [trouble]," he said, adding that the focus of the program is to help get struggling Soldiers "get back on their feet."
As the ceremony came to a close, Muskopf made sure not to forget some of the key members of the AER campaign that he said would not have happened if it weren't for them.
"I brag on Mimi Brooks every chance I get," he said. "She is my Army Emergency Relief officer and she's the best part.
"I cannot say enough about Mimi Brooks for what she does," said the colonel. "She's the right person for the job and it's an absolute honor to see her in action."
He also thanked other members of the campaign including the campaign coordinator Perry, 2nd Lt. Seth Thompson, AER assistant campaign coordinator, and W01 Lissa Yawn, AER assistant campaign coordinator, and presented them with certificates of appreciation.
"All three volunteered and they took this on," said Muskopf. "They made sure everything was happening the way it should and [AER] couldn't have done this without them."