USAG-Hawaii’s AER campaign kicks-off

| March 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

Story and photo by
Sgt. 1st Class Wynn A. Hoke
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Army Emergency Relief (AER) kicked off its annual drive, March 2, by training Soldiers to represent AER within their units and then held an official kick-off ceremony with keynote speaker retired Sgt. Maj. William C. Hagzan Jr.

Staff Sgt. Brian K. McCord, Sr., from the Warrior Transition Battalion, gives his personal testimony of the need for Army Emergency Relief during the annual AER kick-off ceremony March 2, at the Nehelani Banquet an Conference Center, Schofield Barracks. The AER campaign runs from March 2 through May 15. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Wynn Hoke, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

Staff Sgt. Brian K. McCord, Sr., from the Warrior Transition Battalion, gives his personal testimony of the need for Army Emergency Relief during the annual AER kick-off ceremony March 2, at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, Schofield Barracks. The AER campaign runs from March 2 through May 15. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Wynn A. Hoke, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

Army Emergency Relief is a nonprofit, charitable organization that helps Soldiers and their families with emergency aid, grants and college scholarships with little to no interest fees. AER’s slogan, “Soldiers helping Soldiers,” has been the focal point for more than 74 years. This year’s drive is no different.

Staff Sgt. Brian K. McCord Sr., from the Warrior Transition Battalion, knows how important Soldiers helping Soldiers can be with AER as he shared his personal testimony during the ceremony.

“I was weary at first about using the AER program. … I thought it was going to be a negative strike against me in the eyes of the command,” said McCord. “Quite the contrary, my command was happy I sought out this program rather than some payday lender with high interest rates.”

Hagzan, in his keynote speech, further underscored how the AER program is a Soldier’s campaign developed shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He emphasized the need to come together and support comrades in arms and their families.

“One hundred percent contact is no longer acceptable,” said Hagzan. “The requirement is now 100 percent informed. Informed about how AER can make a difference.”

AER Logo

AER Logo

Last year, AER raised around $9.3 million and provided $69.7 million in emergency financial assistance to Soldiers and their families.

Gwen Galloway, Army Emergency Relief officer, here, at Army Community Service, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, emphasized that even though the AER campaign did well throughout last year as a whole, the Hawaii AER campaign fell well short of the goal of $360,000 with just $204,000 in donations.

Last year, AER in Hawaii helped Soldiers and their families with $2.4 million in emergency relief. This year’s goal has been set at $210,000, she said.

“Hopefully, service members will see that this is an excellent organization to donate to, and we will exceed that goal for this year,” said Galloway.

The AER campaign runs from March 2 through May 15, but Galloway also wants everyone to know that anyone can donate to AER at any time of the year, not just during the campaign.

“It doesn’t take much to give,” said McCord. “This program does wonderful things for you and your family when you need them. So give someone else that feeling of peace by contributing. You never know; you might need them (the AER) yourself one day.”

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