[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                 February 27, 2009
News

AER kickoff event sets stage for campaign

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

Senior Fort McCoy leaders attended the Army Emergency Relief (AER) Campaign kickoff event at the Army Community Service (ACS) center Feb. 19.

Photo: Garrison Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Annie Jackson briefs attendees at the Fort McCoy AER kickoff event. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Garrison Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Annie Jackson briefs attendees at the Fort McCoy AER kickoff event. 
(Photo by Rob Schuette)

Army Emergency Relief resources provide emergency financial assistance to active duty Soldiers, retirees, and family members, as well as widows and orphans of Soldiers who died on active duty.

The 2009 Fort McCoy AER campaign slogan is "Adding Strength to Army Strong," stated Dianne Sommers, ACS Fort McCoy AER campaign coordinator.

"The goal of the campaign is to replenish funds, and to increase awareness of the availability of AER. Awareness of AER is especially important in light of the current economy. We donít want Soldiers and families to become victims of predatory lenders, such as payday loans. Using these sources may subject them to a cycle of high interest debt that is difficult to escape," Sommers said.

Lt. Col. Annie Jackson, Fort McCoy garrison deputy commander, said the kickoff ceremony was held to encourage installation Soldiers to participate in the AER campaign.

"(Itís important to contribute to AER), because youíre helping fellow Soldiers in time of need, stress, and misfortune," Jackson said. AER is a private, nonprofit organization, founded in 1942, that receives no federal funding, and is dedicated solely to "Helping the Army take care of its own."

Sommers noted that the installation AER program provided a total of $172,192.64 in assistance to 98 Soldiers in 2008, continuing an upward trend.

This compares to 1998, when the Fort McCoy AER program assisted 29 Soldiers with $19,023.68 in assistance.


"The goal of the campaign is to replenish funds, and to increase awareness of the availability of AER."

Dianne Sommers,
ACS Fort McCoy AER Campaign Coordinator

Armywide, AER provided more than $83 million in assistance to almost 70,000 Soldiers and families in 2008.

Financial assistance can come in the form of an interest-free loan or a grant, or a combination of both.

AER also offers scholarships to spouses and dependent children who will be post secondary students.

The deadline for the scholarship applications for academic year 2009-2010 is March 2. Applications and information are available at the AER Web site http://www.aerhq.org.

Active-duty Soldiers interested in contributing to the campaign may do so by cash, check, or allotment. Soldiers on mobilization orders may contribute by cash or check.

Each organization on the installation has a Soldier who has been designated as the Unit Project Officer, and will be accepting donations during the campaign.

The 2009 Fort McCoy AER campaign will begin Sunday, March 1, and run through Wednesday, April 1.

For more information about AER programs and eligibility, personnel in the Fort McCoy community can call ACS at 608-388-3505.

 

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