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    Army Emergency Relief Launches campaign, encourages support

    AER Kickoff

    Photo By Stephanie Santos | The AER Kickoff Campaign was held Feb. 26 at Fort Bliss... read more read more

    FORT BLISS, TX, UNITED STATES

    02.26.2019

    Story by Stephanie Santos 

    1st Armored Division

    Army Emergency Relief Launches campaign, encourages support
    By Stephanie J. Santos
    1AD Public Affairs

    Disaster, loss and financial distress can affect anyone at any given moment. These factors do not discriminate and can leave feelings of isolation and despair.

    Hearing several of these tragic scenarios painted a clear picture of how the Army Emergency Relief (AER) program can provide financial help to Soldiers and their families during the AER kickoff ceremony Feb. 26 at the Centennial Banquet & Conference Center. Senior leaders in attendance were given a vivid recount of the devastation left when hurricanes damaged the island of Puerto Rico in 2017.

    “This state of emergency showed me the power of Soldiers helping other Soldiers,” said 1st Sgt. Nelson Rivera, 210th HHC Mobilization and Deployment.

    “I will never forget the look in these Soldiers’ eyes as they saw emergency evacuations and homes lost. I witnessed family care plans and homes collapse, but the program was there,” he said. “When disaster struck, AER quickly eased the financial stress and worry that came with this devastation.”

    He added that no one expects to need help or aid, but when it is needed, AER is ready and prepared to help. Rivera prompted attendees to share the importance of the AER program.

    “Let Soldiers know not to be afraid to ask for help and to get the word out…at the end of the day, by helping one person we can help millions,” said Rivera.

    Established in 1942, AER can help Soldiers and their dependents by providing emergency aid, in the form of either a direct grant, or an interest-free loan. AER can also give college scholarships to children of Soldiers.
    Loans up to $1,000 do not require command recommendation, and there is no limit to the amount of funds Army Emergency Relief may authorize for eligible Soldiers. Officers are responsible for ensuring that their Soldiers repay AER.

    AER Officer Ruth Nero emphasized the importance of the program and how it’s also personally rewarding to help Soldiers and their families during their time of need.
    “Every day that we leave here, it is with the belief that we have made a difference in someone’s life,” said Nero who has worked with AER for the past 19 years.
    Although the program is highly recognized throughout the Army, there are still several misconceptions that Nero clarified:

    - Soldiers CAN have more than one AER loan out at a time
    - Retired Soldiers are still eligible for AER
    - National Guard and USAR Soldiers on Title 10 for at least 31 consecutive days are still eligible for AER assistance.

    In addition, Nero stressed that there should never be any type of negative stigmas associated with applying AER since the program is designed to help Soldiers and their families push forward.

    Last year, the program generated $234,000 in donations from Active Duty and Retired Soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss. This year organizers are hoping to reach at least $250,000. Active-duty military and retirees can donate by allotment, online, cash or check. Anyone else wishing to donate may use cash, check, or visit: https://www.aerhq.org/Donate/Donate-Now . Call 915-569-4706, for more information.

    All Soldiers who have been in more than 12 months, completed IET and not exhibit high risk behavior have Direct Access without Chain of Command notification.

    AER Officer Ruth Nero emphasized the importance of the program and how it’s also personally rewarding to help Soldiers and their families during their time of need. “Every day that we leave here, it is with the belief that we have made a difference in someone’s life,” said Nero who has worked with AER for the past 19 years.

    Although the program is highly recognized throughout the Army, there are still several misconceptions that Nero clarified: Service Members CAN have more than one AER loan out at a time, Retired Service Members are still eligible for AER, and National Guard and USAR Soldiers on title 10 for at least 31 consecutive days are eligible for AER assistance.

    In addition, Nero stressed that there should never be any type of negative stigmas associated with applying for AER since the program is designed to help families and Soldiers push forward.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.26.2019
    Date Posted: 03.08.2019 17:07
    Story ID: 313560
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 

    Web Views: 87
    Downloads: 0
    Podcast Hits: 0

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    Army Emergency Relief Launches campaign, encourages support