DVIDS – News – Fort Campbell AER aims to raise $200,000 through annual campaign

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Army Emergency Relief Funds have helped soldiers and families overcome financial hardship for 80 years, and Fort Campbell is seeking to raise $200,000 to support the nonprofit mission during this year’s AER annual campaign.

The installation hosted an AER launch ceremony Feb. 1 at division headquarters, and the contribution window for soldiers and civilians will be open March 1 through May 13.

Zero-interest loans and grants distributed by AER help cover necessary expenses, from rent and utilities to food and vehicle repairs, and the program also provides scholarships.

While fundraising for these resources is an important part of the AER campaign, the top priority is making sure soldiers and families know they can access them.

“The AER campaign is primarily an information campaign,” said retired Lieutenant General Raymond Mason, AER headquarters director. “What keeps me awake at night is (the idea that) a soldier is in trouble and we don’t know it. We need to share this information again and again.

Command Sergeant Major Joseph Harbour, senior enlisted adviser in the garrison, said he has seen the impact of the EAR first-hand through his work with soldiers across the division.

“EAR is an essential lifeline when soldiers and families need it most,” he said. “And getting help through AER can be the difference between a short-term financial setback or a long-term, costly financial obligation.”

Harbor said the facility’s AER program approved more than 1,100 requests for assistance in 2021 and disbursed more than $1.9 million in loans and grants.

Because these loans and grants are zero-interest, soldiers and families are encouraged to make ARE their first choice for financial support.

“Fifty percent of our soldiers used payday loans,” Mason said. “And the reason for that is the stigma attached to finances. They don’t want anyone to know they’re in trouble. AER’s message is: don’t walk out the door, come to us.

Mason said choosing EAR helps soldiers avoid the high interest rates associated with payday loans and improves mission readiness.

“If they’re distracted by finances – can’t fix their car, can’t pay their rent, can’t put food on the table – they’re probably not focused on their MOS training,” he said. -he declares. “They’re not focused on their unity mission, and if we send them into battle, they’re potentially a danger to themselves and their buddies to their left and right.”

AER financial advisors are also dedicated to working with these soldiers so they can take charge of their money and avoid future emergencies.

“That combination of helping this soldier get out of the predicament he’s in and then following financial advice is absolutely critical,” Mason said. “Resilience is what it’s all about.”

The Screaming Eagles play an important role in making sure these services are available to their fellow soldiers, and Mason said AER’s goal is to keep them informed about what the program offers to encourage donations.

“Once you tell a soldier about it, they know about it and can decide to donate,” he said. “Our credo is ‘leave no comrade behind’. Most people think it’s the battlefield…but that’s also true here at home.

EAR has become even more valuable to soldiers and families amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Terrence Jones, financial readiness program manager at Fort Campbell Army Community Service.

The AER program recently expanded its eligible expenses to cover costs associated with the pandemic, such as transportation and remote learning support. Jones said local participation in the program has increased significantly over the past 18 months.

“I hope to see more participation and support throughout the installation from the leaders and soldiers of this campaign cycle,” Jones said in a January interview with the Fort Campbell Courier. “People need this fund for things like unpaid rent, car repairs and emergency leave, so it’s important to have this fund and soldiers helping each other.” This prevents them from quitting their job to apply for these high interest rate loans. »

Harbor said unit leaders are a driving force for the installation’s AER contributions each year and asked them to make discussing the program with their Soldiers a priority.

“First we have to educate our soldiers,” he said. “Use the ARE as a tool to support unit readiness; making the EAR the first choice when soldiers need financial assistance…the bottom line is that when we take care of our soldiers at home, our units can stay focused on their training and our army will be ready to fight and win our nation’s wars.

Soldiers and civilians can contribute to the ARE at https://www.armyemergencyrelief.org from March 1 through May 13 by setting up a one-time payment or monthly donation. Service members can also set up donations through their unit leaders.

For more information, call Army Community Service-Financial Readiness Program at 270-798-5518. Services are located at 1501 William C. Lee Road.

Date taken: 02.04.2022
Date posted: 02.08.2022 17:03
Story ID: 414300

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