Karl Weisel | U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden | Oct. 30, 2023
WIESBADEN, Germany — With more than a decade of experience serving alongside a military spouse and working in various positions in the civilian world in the United States and for the U.S. military, Briana Johnson is no stranger to being a newcomer in both the U.S. and overseas.
Now, as Wiesbaden’s Army Emergency Relief Officer, Johnson has turned those experiences into a way to serve her fellow Family and service members in need.
“I think it’s really important to support military Families, because their walk is different, and they come from so many different walks of life,” said Johnson, who recently returned from the nation’s capital where she (along with fellow AER representatives) was honored for her efforts in the 2023 AER fundraising campaign.
“It takes a village to support kids and to support Families,” said Johnson, explaining that as a member of the Wiesbaden Army Community Service staff, she is thankful for the opportunity to help those in need. “We are their village – ACS is a great place to get to know – we are their hub.”
The Tulsa, Oklahoma, native said everyone is always welcome to call or stop by ACS to connect with a myriad of resources, support and friendly advice. “You’re going to get information, meet people and learn to find your way around, both on- and off-post,” Johnson said.
Coming to a new duty station, particularly overseas, can be daunting, she added, pointing out that ACS offers a gateway to ready assistance and support.
“All things come together at ACS. You’ll find people who speak your language. Whether you are married or a single parent, ACS can help keep people from feeling isolated,” she said. “I think ACS does a great job of helping people make that first step.”
“ACS is an amazing team. They pull together when the chips are down,” Johnson added. “And the garrison always steps in to support.”
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael R. Weimer and Retired Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, AER director, recognized Johnson and her team — which included Staff Sgt. Monique Garcia, ACS’s Alleyne Arcelio and Capt. Patrick Ledbetter, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden company commander — as the top small installation performer in the 2023 AER Campaign during a ceremony at the Association of the U.S. Army Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., in mid-October.
The annual AER campaign raises money for the non-profit financial assistance program that provides financial assistance, scholarships and grants for service members and their Families. The Wiesbaden AER team collected more than $34,000 in donations during the campaign.
“Our command team made the difference. They were 100 percent on board,” said Wiesbaden’s AER Officer. “They paved the way and encouraged me to go further in our efforts.”
“The success of the campaign was almost all due to her,” said Ledbetter, describing Johnson’s effectiveness in motivating tenant unit engagement. “She’s really passionate about it.”
Johnson said helping people cope with unexpected financial burdens such as emergency travel, off-post housing expenses and in other emergency situations is extremely rewarding.
“I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t help people,” Johnson said. “Besides doing my AER job, I get to help people in situations that fall into our (ACS’s) lap. Helping is fulfilling. It gives me joy and value – it’s very satisfying.”
The AER officer said she is looking forward to next year’s fundraising campaign. “We’re going to do our very best next year.”