The Army Emergency Relief campaign collected $36,335 in donations this year. Of the $36,335, Soldiers donated $8,544.00 and retirees donated $27,460. From April to June 2014, Army Emergency Relief at WSMR has assisted 33 individuals during difficult financial emergencies.
“It helps them quite a bit. If they have an unforeseen financial emergency it’ll assist them in their situation,” said Installation Army Emergency Relief Officer Andrew Lucht.
Army Emergency Relief was established 72 years ago to provide Active Duty Soldiers, Family members and retirees with emergency financial assistance. If the Soldier or Family member is not near an Army installation, assistance can be provided by any other service branch emergency relief society or through the American Red Cross. AER helps cover costs for almost any unforeseen circumstance, to include medical, car repair, funeral costs, emergency travel, etc. Though AER funding cannot usually take on the entire cost of a medical bill, it can help with medical bills outside of the Tricare and Medicare coverage.
A Soldier can apply for financial assistance through their First Sergeant or Company Commander, or by visiting ACS. The grants or interest-free loans are granted on a case by case basis. There is not a limit to how many times a Soldier can apply for assistance.
If a Soldier is deployed during a time of financial troubles, a Family member can apply for AER funds with a valid general or special power of attorney. AER can also help Soldiers and Families plan for the future by helping individuals create a budget review either in person or online.
The AER program has also found ways to help Soldiers who are most in need. The program implemented a new grant that would help provide financial aid to wounded warriors once during their initial evacuation for inpatient care. Each wounded warrior now receives $500 in aid to help provide comfort in the recovery process. Since 2003 the program has provided over 15,000 Soldiers with the grant.
Children can also directly benefit from AER by applying for the Maj. Gen. James Ursano Scholarship. Ursano, who was a major advocate for education, was a former director for AER. Children of Soldiers have an opportunity to apply for the scholarships from Jan. 1 through May 1. In 2013 over 3,400 children were awarded a scholarship. The amount of the scholarship varies based on the number of applications.
\Within this last quarter alone retirees donated $25,000 of the $36,335 that were donated. A total of 334 retirees made up the five figure donation. Of the entire amount donated 27 individuals donated over $250.
“It’s helped them in their careers, they’ve utilized the service and now they’re giving back,” Lucht said. “They’re very generous.”To make a tax deductible donation by credit card, please visit www.aerhq.org and don’t forget to choose “White Sands Missile Range,” under the installation option.