Skip Vaughn | Redstone Rocket | Oct. 4, 2023
Members of Army Emergency Relief headquarters visited from Arlington, Virginia, last week to thank the Redstone community for being AER’s leading contributor.
The visitors Sept. 25-26 included retired Col. Eldon Mullis, deputy director and chief operating officer; retired Command Sgt. Maj. Juan Jimenez, financial assistance administrator; and Andrew Pike, chief of campaign.
“Redstone does a fantastic job in fundraising for Army Emergency Relief and is really the model that we would like to spread to other installations,” Mullis said. “And that’s what makes Redstone unique for AER.”
The Georgia native traveled to Redstone in 2019 to kick-off one of the fundraising golf tournaments and visit with the Garrison leadership.
“What’s so amazing to me about Redstone Arsenal is the corporations’ outstanding show of support for Soldiers,” Mullis said. During last week’s visit, he took time to thank corporations in person, including Stevens Aerospace, Radiance Technologies and Amentum.
This year’s Redstone Arsenal AER campaign raised $104,000. As of Aug. 31, Redstone provided $120,000 in loans, grants and scholarships to active duty Soldiers and retirees.
“AER has been helping Soldiers and families for 82 years,” Mullis said. “We want to continue to provide assistance for another 82 years. And we couldn’t have done it without the donations from the Huntsville community.
“AER is about ensuring Soldier and family financial readiness. We want to make sure the Soldier is focused on their mission or job and not having to worry about financial issues. And if they have a problem that they come to us first, where we provide zero-interest loans or grants.”
Armywide in 2023, active duty Soldiers have contributed $2.1 million to AER. Retired Soldiers contributed $3.4 million. Civilians and corporations, including the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, contributed $3 million.
Some $38 million in loans and grants have been distributed to 21,000 active duty and retired Soldiers.
“We want to use technology to help provide assistance faster,” Mullis said. “We’ve just started using Zelle to make financial payments to Soldiers so the money will go directly to the Soldiers’ bank account. And probably by first quarter of calendar year 2024, we’ll be providing assistance through our assistance portal where a Soldier can just go online and apply for assistance and we make the payment through Zelle straight to the bank account which reduces the time.”
Jimenez, the AER financial assistance administrator, revisited Redstone after previously serving as the Garrison’s command sergeant major. He retired in August 2022.
“It is great to come back after retiring as Garrison sergeant major,” Jimenez said.