Monday March 1, 2010
What is it?
The Army conducts the Army Emergency Relief (AER) Annual Campaign from March 1st through May 15th each year to offer Soldiers the opportunity to help their fellow Soldiers as well as increase Soldiers' awareness of this valuable benefit. In addition to the annual campaign, AER accepts unsolicited donations from individual donors and corporations at anytime.
AER is a private nonprofit organization incorporated in 1942 to relieve distress of Soldiers and their dependents. Today AER's mission is to provide financial assistance to Soldiers and their families in the form of interest-free loans and grants for:
- Emergency assistance to include rent, food, travel, car repair, funeral, medical and dental expenses.
- Children and spouse scholarships
- Soldiers medically evacuated from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom
- Support to families of fallen Soldiers
AER assistance is available to Soldiers and their families wherever they are located and the amount of assistance approved is only limited by a valid need. Soldiers and their family members requiring AER assistance need only contact their chain of command or local AER office. Under AER's Command Referral Program company commanders and first sergeants have the authority to approve AER loans to their Soldiers up to $1,000. Based on reciprocal agreements, Soldiers and families not near an Army Installation AER office can seek assistance from the Air Force Aid Society, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance or a local chapter of the American Red Cross.
What has the Army done?
In 2009, the Army and AER disbursed more than $79 million in financial assistance to over 72,000 active and retired Soldiers and families to meet their emergency financial and educational assistance needs.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army supports AER and its annual AER Campaign through local installations conducting campaign kick-off events to further increase awareness and of AER's benefits as well as offers Soldiers the opportunity to help their fellow Soldiers by donating to AER.
Why is it important to the Army?
Army Emergency Relief is dedicated to "Helping the Army Take Care of Its Own" and provides Army leaders a valuable asset in ensuring a ready source for financial assistance to Soldiers and their families.
Related article: Army Emergency Relief campaign begins March 1
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ABOUT THE ARMY
"If you look at either one individually, you will fail. You will have great security, but no ability to access information sharing. [Or], if you think only about sharing, you will run into issues of operational security and letting bad things into your system. So you can no longer think of them as two separate subjects."
- David M. Wennergren, deputy assistant secretary of defense for information management and technology, reinforcing the value of the new Defense Department social media policy which promotes "secure information sharing"
"This is about 'Soldiers helping Soldiers' because most of the money was donated by Soldiers to help other Soldiers and their families. Most assistance is given as a loan and paid back to the fund so Soldiers can continue to help the next Soldier in need."
- Andrew H. Cohen, Army Emergency Relief deputy director for finance, speaking about the Army Emergency Relief campaign which kicks off on March 1 and will run through May 15.
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