ABC-7 Xtra: An Army retiree’s commitment to serve

EL PASO, Texas — For decades, the focus of the Army Emergency Relief, also known as AER, is to assist Soldiers and their Families in times of trouble.

Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston was thrilled when AER unanimously announced him as CEO.

“Fantastic,” says Grinston. “I loved it. It was great. Just a joy. I get to still help Soldiers and their Families.”

Established in 1942, AER financially assists Army Soldiers through grants, interest-free loans and scholarships.

Grinston served as the 16th Sergeant Major of the Army from 2019 until 2023.

ABC-7 Xtra: An Army retiree’s commitment to serve


It is a unique position held only by the most senior enlisted Soldier in the Army.

He brought to light issues relating to overall health, well-being and maintained the readiness of Soldiers and their Families.

Fort Bliss is Grinston’s first installation visit to discuss the program after taking the helm of AER in January.

“I run it to do something to still give back to the Army and make a difference in the world,” says Grinston. “I want AER to be the No. 1 nonprofit of choice.”

Sean Ryan, AER Director of Communications, served side by side with Grinston in the Army.

He says, “It’s nice working for a boss that I have a previous relationship with. His leadership skills are great. He’s very motivated, very driven and he exudes all the qualities that you want an Army leader.”

Grinston is the first noncommissioned officer to serve as AER director in its 83-year history