|Soldiers can help ensure their fellow Soldiers make it
through difficult times by donating to the Army Emergency Relief (AER)
fund-raising campaign, which is under way at Fort McCoy and continues
through May 15.
Fort McCoy’s Army Community Service (ACS), the organization that
coordinates and oversees the AER campaign at the installation, held a
kick-off event April 5 by presenting information to representatives from
Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser said the goal is to ensure that
every Soldier is aware of their opportunity to donate.
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander
Col. David E. Chesser addresses the attendees at the AER
kick-off. Photo by Rob Schuette
Contributions can be made by cash, check or allotment. Contributions
by credit card can be done at the AER Web site at
Dianne Sommers, Fort McCoy AER campaign coordinator, said the campaign’s
goals are to make Soldiers aware of the existence of AER, publish
procedures for obtaining assistance, and to replenish funds.
The AER is a private, nonprofit charitable organization. Army Emergency
Relief has provided more than 1.2 billion dollars in assistance to
Soldiers and Families since its inception in 1942.
AER provides grants and no-interest loans to eligible Soldiers and
Family members to help them overcome financial emergencies or crises,
she said. Unit commanders also can approve interest-free loans up to
$1,000 if eligibility requirements are met.
Educational assistance is also available through AER to eligible spouses
and children of servicemembers.
“We want our Soldiers to seek financial assistance from AER, and not
high interest commercial lenders,” Sommers said.
Those eligible for the program are active-duty Soldiers and Family
members, Army National Guard (Title 10) and Army Reserve Soldiers on
active duty for more than 30 days (including for mobilization) and their
Family members, retirees and Family members and surviving spouses and
Assistance in the Fort McCoy community has increased from 26 Soldiers,
who received $27,118.36 in assistance in 1999, to 76 Soldiers who
received $106,736.68 in assistance in 2009.
If an office isn’t available near a Soldier’s residence, the AER program
has agreements in place with its relief organizations from other
military services and the American Red Cross to provide assistance.
“No one should have to drive more than 50 miles from their home to get
assistance,” Sommers said.
For more information about AER in the Fort McCoy community, contact
organization points of contact or call the AER office at