CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea -- The U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys community kicked off the 2022 Army Emergency Relief (AER) campaign at a ceremony at the Eighth Army Headquarters March 2, 2022.
Lt. Gen. Willard Burleson, the Eighth Army commanding general, presided over the ceremony, which marked the 80th year of Soldiers helping Soldiers.
“Last year Eight Army raised over $107,000 in donations with approximately 1,450 donors,” said Burleson. “The Army Emergency Relief is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to Soldiers, active or retired, and their Families. AER's legacy of caring is only possible with the continued donations.”
According to Allen Rivera, the USAG Humphreys AER officer, the program began in 1942 as a way to help Soldiers in financial need. Their motto is “Find a way to say yes to help the Soldiers.” This year’s campaign officially began March 1 and continues until May 15.
“The Army Emergency Relief program is an incredible resource for our Soldiers and Families and plays a critical role in helping those facing financial difficulties and unexpected challenges,” said Col. Seth Graves, USAG Humphreys commander. “I encourage members of our community to donate. Every bit helps. It’s all about Soldiers helping Soldiers in a time of need.”
The AER program embodies the saying “Soldiers helping Soldiers” because those in need receive financial help from donations made by their peers. Commanders and first sergeants can approve up to $2,000 for one of AER’s interest-free loans, said Rivera.
“We work through the commander and first sergeants with the quick assist program,” he said. “The Soldier in need can get a loan up to $2,000 for auto repairs, rent, utilities, food, or shipping pets back to the States.”
Elvira Vasquez, AER officer assistant said her favorite thing about AER is emergency leave assistance. She noted from personal experience the program coordinators will always go out of their way to make sure service members have the funds to get back home when an emergency arises.
“At the company level, we have up to $2,000 to help a Soldier in need that is opened to all ranks,” said Capt. Kevin Pham, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG Humphreys commander. “Basically, if a Soldier misses a payment on a credit card, GTC, or needs financial assistance to PCS out of here, we can authorize it. We can just walk them over to ACS.”
Soldiers interested in donating to AER can do so with cash contributions to their unit AER representative, or they can choose to set up an allotment from their paychecks. Donors can also contribute at gas stations, the Post Exchange, or commissary check out.