AER

Garrison Commander, Col. Michael Greenberg, makes remarks at the 2019 AER Campaign Kick-Off at the ACS building, March 28.

Last year, Army Emergency Relief at Fort Belvoir provided more than $500,000 in loans and grants to Soldiers, units, retirees and family members and received $196,000 in donations.

Last week, program officials and leaders met and opened Fort Belvoir’s AER for the season.

U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir Commander, Col. Michael Greenberg said organizers would like everyone, from leaders on down, to be engaged in the annual AER effort.

“We can do this by donating as much as possible and by spreading the word to Service members and families who could potentially benefit from Army Emergency Relief funds,” he said.

Removing financial burden

Michele Godfrey, Fort Belvoir’s AER officer and Family Readiness Program manager, said AER offers Soldiers and families in financial hardship a chance to request interest-free loans and grants, for a variety of reasons.

“AER really wants to help and knows that everyone has a story,” she said. “We’re here to help them, so they can take a burden off of their financial concerns. If there’s a worry about money, ask us, especially if you’re considering using a payday or car-title loan.”

Greenberg said AER is a longstanding, integral part of the Belvoir community, with a history of caring and adapting to Soldiers’ needs.

Taking care of our own

Godfrey encourages donating to AER if at all possible. “Donating helps our fellow Soldiers and it’s another way to take care of our own,” she said.

Worldwide, just in the last few months, Army Emergency Relief has provided financial help to Army families during a typhoon disaster recovery and during the recent government shutdown.

AER facts

•AER provides scholarships. For more, go to www.aerhq.org/Apply-for-Scholarship

•Served more than 40,400 Soldiers/families for a total assistance value of $67.2 million, since it began in 1942

•Approves 99 percent of all valid need requests

•More than just emergency assistance and can help with a variety of financial assistance requests

•85 percent of eligible requests can be met by the local chain of command

•Donating is an investment in the future and supports the entire Army family

•Although the donation campaign ends May 31, donations and requests to AER can be made year-round

2019 AER program enhancements

•Family member dental care grants increased

•Special needs medical equipment, including cranial helmets and car seats, used to be covered with a zero-interest loan and is now all through grants

•Passport and immigrant fees for foreign-born spouses are now grants instead of loans

•The cap on funerals for family member spouse has increased.