Army Emergency Relief is the Army’s emergency financial assistance organization and as part of the Army team is dedicated to “Helping the Army Take Care of its Own.” AER was incorporated as a private nonprofit organization on Feb. 5, 1942, by the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff of the Army with the mission “To relieve financial distress of Soldiers,” which is directly related to combat readiness.

AER financial assistance is conducted within the Army structure by mission commanders and garrison commanders through AER sections located at U.S. Army installations worldwide. At Fort Campbell AER can be found in the Army Community Service building, 2602 Indiana Ave.

AER provides the following:

•Approves 99 percent of all financial assistance requests. In 2017, one out of 15 Soldiers received assistance. More than $70 million in total assistance was provided to 43,724 Soldiers and Families. At Fort Campbell AER provided $3.5 million in emergency assistance to more than 2,000 Families in 2017 in the form of interest-free loans and grants.

•Provides assistance with emergency travel, rent and personal vehicle repair.

•Annually provides more than $8 million in scholarship grants to children and spouses.

•Responded to the 2017 natural disasters in California, Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico with $3 million to those in need and waived the active duty requirement for Reserve component Soldiers.

•270 AER officers, stationed at 76 Army installations, directly support the Army team. The AEROs work closely with unit leadership, garrison commanders and AER headquarters to ensure Soldiers receive immediate support for all valid needs. AEROs are subject matter experts and can approve assistance up to $3,000; the garrison commander/command sergeant major can approve assistance up to $4,000, with the Army Emergency Relief headquarters team approving needs above $4,000.

In 2018, AER enhanced its emergency leave policy, with assistance as a 50 percent zero interest loan/50 percent grant, with the potential of increasing to a 100 percent grant, depending on the Soldier’s needs. AER improved the company commander loan program, by including the first sergeant as an additional approval authority and increasing the max loan to $2,000. AER continuously evaluates and improves services to ensure that AER meets the valid needs of Soldiers and their Families, while ensuring the long-term viability of AERs ability to execute its mission.

The financial readiness of Soldiers and their Families is a priority for the Army because it has a direct effect on mission readiness. AER provides Army leaders a valuable asset in ensuring a ready source of financial assistance to Soldiers and their Families. This organization provides zero-interest loan to build Soldier and Family resiliency and instill financial responsibility.

To donate or for more information, call Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Antonelli, Fort Campbell 2018 AER campaign coordinator, at 270-798-5529.