By Mr. Jason B. Cutshaw, USASMDC/ARSTRATJune 26, 2012
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Members of the Army family take care of their own as the 2012 Army Emergency Relief closes another successful campaign.
Team Redstone showed its appreciation Thursday at the AER recognition ceremony at Heiser Hall and thanked those who gave during the 2012 campaign. This year, AER received more than $67,000 from retirees, more than $170,000 from Soldiers, civilians and contractors and more than $36,000 from off-post organizations to get a final total of $275,241.04.
"It is an honor for me to be here," said Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, USASMDC/ARSTRAT commanding general. "On behalf of all of the commands, directorates and activities here on Redstone Arsenal, to recognize the contributions of so many organizations here, both on and off the Arsenal, in support of Army Emergency Relief, 'Thank you.'"
"It is a great opportunity to represent all of the commands here at this recognition ceremony," he continued. "This is an opportunity to talk from the heart and to thank each organization, each individual and those off-post organizations who contributed to this year's AER campaign.
"AER is one of the important elements because it is a resource to our Soldiers, civilians, retirees and their family members when they need help," Formica added. "It's the one way the Army truly gets to help its own. We raise the money, we donate the money and we allocate the money to our own when they need it."
Organizations on Redstone Arsenal that raised money were: Army Contracting Command, Army Materiel Command, ARAMARK, Aviation and Missile Command, Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, Fox Army Health Center, Program Executive Office for Aviation, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, SMDC/ARSTRAT and the Garrison.
Off-post organizations included: American Legion Post 15, Avion Solutions, General Electric Aviation, National Special Forces Association of North Alabama, Radiance Technologies Inc., Sikorsky and Torch Technologies and The Huntsville Havoc hockey team.
"AER impacts hundreds of peoples' lives in the Army; from wounded warriors to widows to our Soldiers," said Kerrie Branson, Redstone Arsenal Army Community Service AER officer. "Different things and crises come up in peoples' lives, and AER is there to help relieve some of their stress so they can continue on with the mission at hand.
"My heart is in family service," she continued. "It has always been a dream of mine to be an AER officer so I could be able to assist our Soldiers and their families. It is a complete honor for me to be able to provide this type of assistance to families who may be in crisis.
"I just want to say that even though we recognized one person from each organization, I want to thank the hundreds of people behind the scene who made this possible," Branson added. "We have phenomenal fundraisers on the installation and in the surrounding communities. I also want to thank the leadership on post because without them, we could not be as successful as we are."
During the ceremony, Formica and Col. John Hamilton, Redstone Arsenal Garrison commander, presented the ceremonial campaign check of more than $275,000 to Branson.
"AER is a great way for us to give back to our own," said Col. James H. Jenkins III, SMDC chief of staff. "This gives us a chance to donate to an organization that helps our civilians, Soldiers and families and lets them distribute it to our commanders appropriately.
"Today was a great event that lets us recognize the key people inside of each organization at Redstone Arsenal that helped organize their own unit fundraisers to provide more than $275,000 to the AER campaign," he added.
With this year's theme being "A Strong Tradition of Soldiers Helping Soldiers," one Soldier thanked all those who gave and said she looked forward to next year's AER campaign.
"AER is a way for our Soldiers to be able to get financial help in an emergency so they don't have to worry about problems that may arise in their family and personal lives so they can accomplish their Army mission and come to work level-headed and clear, and not have to worry about what is going on at home," said Capt. Alyssa Wood, AER campaign chairperson. "I do this because it is the heart of what a commander does. It helps to allow us to take care of and do things for our Soldiers. I look to my battle buddies, and if there is something I can do to help them when they are in need, I am going to do all I can to assist them.
"I am looking forward to a wonderful year of more AER campaigning and fundraising for the 2013 campaign season," she added.