Scott Prater | Fort Carson Mountaineer | May 20, 2022
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Soldiers still have time to donate to Army Emergency Relief (AER).
The Army-wide AER campaign had been scheduled to end this week, but was extended to June 30, 2022, to allow more time for donations to stream in.
For 80 years, AER has been the conduit through which Soldiers provide financial support to their brothers and sisters in arms. Since 1942, AER has supported four million Soldiers with nearly $2 billion in financial assistance.
“At a time when rents, gas and expenses are up around the nation, donations for AER are at an all-time low,” said Fred Lewis, Fort Carson AER officer. “I think the biggest challenge is convincing another generation of Soldiers to give away from themselves.”
Lewis said the Mountain Post’s goal is to inform 100 percent of Soldiers, retirees and government civilians about how AER benefits Soldiers and Families in their time of need. Most AER loans and grants are used for rent, car repairs, utilities, food and emergency travel.
That information is key to raising campaign donations, said Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus W. Brister II, senior enlisted leader, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson.
“A lot of people believe AER just provides zero interest loans to Soldiers and Families,” he said. “So, the program should be self-sustaining (they believe), but AER also provides grants and scholarships to help Families get through the hardest times. And, for the last five years, AER has taken in fewer donations from Soldiers than it has awarded in grants and scholarships. That’s money that will never come back, and that’s why this donation drive is important.”
Last year for example, Fort Carson Soldiers and Families donated roughly $103,000 to AER, but the program awarded more than $640,000 in grants and scholarships to Fort Carson recipients.
“Soldiers and Family members need to know why they are donating and what the benefits are,” Lewis said. “We’ve not only set a goal of informing 100 percent of Soldiers about AER, but we’ve set a goal of 30 percent participation among Soldiers, Family members, retirees and government civilians. We hope the extended deadline to June 30, 2022, will help.”
Contributions are accepted from active-duty Soldiers, retirees and DOD civilians. For information on how to donate, visit the AER website at or Fort Carson’s Army Community Service website.
“Most units on post have an AER coordinator and key workers,” Lewis said. “So, Soldiers can contact one of these to find out more about the program and donate, either through a one-time contribution or through a monthly allotment. Soldiers can also contribute through the AER website.