2014-02-28 / Spectrum

AER - the Army takes care of its own

Every leader in the Army has two basic doctrinal responsibilities – the accomplishment of the mission and the welfare of the Soldiers. Both responsibilities are interdependent. Units can’t accomplish their missions if their members are struggling personally, and mission failure can have severe personal consequences – especially on the battlefield.

Commanders get lots of help in preparation for mission accomplishment. But who’s there to help when unexpected financial hardships threaten the wellbeing of their troops?

Army Emergency Relief, of course.

Fort Gordon kicked off its annual AER campaign Feb. 27 with a ceremony at Alexander Hall. There were speeches and cake, and it was a great event. But if you really want to get motivated about making a donation during the campaign, drop by the AER office and ask how many people they’ve helped – people who had nowhere else to turn in their hour of need.

AER provides emergency financial assistance for food, rent or utilities; emergency transportation and vehicle repair; funeral expenses; medical or dental expenses; and personal needs when pay is delayed or stolen. AER also provides undergraduatelevel education scholarships, based primarily on financial need, to children of Soldiers.

The assistance can be in the form of an interest-free loan, a grant if repayment of the loan will cause undue hardship, or part loan and part grant.

Since its inception in 1942, AER has provided more than $1.5 billion in assistance to Soldiers (active and reserve component), retirees, widows and orphans. That’s no small amount, especially considering that AER is funded by donations, most of them collected from Soldiers and employees during each year’s campaign. That AER has given so much to so many says something profound about the organization, and that Soldiers have funded it year after year says a lot about them, too.

We l ive in tough economic times. Army families have to work hard and watch their pennies in order to stretch the monthly budget. It’s not easy to find a few extra dollars for charity. But they do, and it’s a good thing, too. Tough times are when you want AER to be at its strongest, able to help those struck by emergency financial needs.

Imagine an Army without AER – Soldiers without a safety net during financial emergencies, and commanders with no way to help. That’s hardly a formula for guaranteeing the accomplishment of the mission accomplishment and the welfare of the troops. No, we need AER strong and ready to assist at a moment’s notice. Here’s your chance to make sure it stays that way.

Consider a donation to AER during this year’s campaign.

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