Wiesbaden Garrison kicks off Army Emergency Relief annual campaign | Article - freetxp

Wiesbaden Garrison kicks off Army Emergency Relief annual campaign | Article

Wiesbaden Garrison kicks off Army Emergency Relief annual campaign

Col. Mario Washington, US Army Garrison Wiesbaden Commander, Arthur Jones, director of the Army Community Services, Tawana Ballard, Army Emergency Relief Officer, Capt. Alexander Moore and 1st Sgt. Richard Brinkley with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, prepare to cut the official AER cake representing the campaign’s kick-off at the Clay Kaserne dining facility March 1.
(Photo Credit: Connie Dickey)


By Tawana Ballard

Army Community Service, AER Officer

WIESBADEN, Germany—The Army Emergency Relief kicked off its annual fundraising campaign with a cake-cutting event March 1 at the Stronger Together Café dining facility on Clay Kaserne. The campaign will run through May 15.

“AER’s fundraising campaign goal is to raise $25,000,” said Tawana Ballard, AER Officer.

Col. Mario Washington, US Army Garrison Wiesbaden Commander, spoke about AER prior to the cake cutting and said, “Because of Tawana’s passion for the program and her ability to help Soldiers when they are in need, shows how we as an Army are helping Soldiers be successful and how we help take care of Soldiers and I thank her for what she is doing.”

“My focus for USAG Wiesbaden during the campaign is to increase awareness and inform 100 percent of our Soldiers and families about the benefits and programs AER offers; While proposing the opportunity to donate by helping fellow Soldiers in need,” Ballard said.

AER is the Army’s own non-profit organization that was founded in 1942. It was created to support Soldiers and family members who are experiencing financial emergencies by providing zero-interest loans and grants.

AER provides more than 30 different assistance categories to help Soldiers with immediate financial needs such as emergency travel, non-receipt of pay, rent, utilities, vehicle repairs and scholarships for educational assistance.

Financial assistance is available to active duty, retirees, eligible reserve-component Soldiers and their eligible family members.

Providing financial assistance for associated costs with a Permanent Change of Station, AER can help with expenses before, during and after a move, such as auto repair, rent deposit, temporary lodging, appliance repair, child care assistance, spouse relicensing and more.

Last year, AER added a new financial assistance category for pet transportation to help reduce the financial burden on Soldiers and families during PCS moves as COVID-19 has introduced new challenges. Soldiers and families have had fewer options for transporting pets to and from overseas locations due to reduced capacity for pet transportation on commercial and military flights, driving shipping costs up substantially. To help alleviate some of this burden, AER has begun offering zero interest loans of up to $5,500 for eligible individuals.

As of December 2021, AER added an assistance category for the US Army’s Career Skills Program at all installations worldwide. The CSP allows retiring and separating Soldiers to participate in skills training during their transition period to improve their civilian employment options. AER offers grants to support Soldiers in the program. Assistance may be provided as a grant up to $500 for participation in a local continental United States CSP, a grant up to $1,000 for participation in a non-local continental CSP; or a grant up to $1,500 for Soldiers traveling from outside continental US to participate in a continental CSP.

AER assistance may cover costs related to CSP as follows: travel expenses (airfare or fuel), with the following: uniforms/business attire, tools/CSP training supplies, lodging, utilities and food.

There are three ways to apply for AER assistance. Talk to your chain of command, visit your local AER officer or call the American Red Cross. If you are requesting emergency assistance after hours, contact your local American Red Cross at 1-877-272-7337.

There are also multiple ways to donate to AER. You can donate online by visiting www.armyemergencyrelief.org. Active duty and retired Soldiers can donate through an allotment, by visiting the local AER officer or go through a unit representative.

Soldiers, civilians, and family members can contribute to the campaign filling out a DA Form 4908, supplied by their unit representative, AER officer or by going online.

To receive financial assistance contact your local AER officer, Tawana Ballard, at the Army Community Service by calling 0611-143-548-9201/9202.

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