Fort Sill Soldiers rally behind AER, clinching the award for best large installation

Chris Gardner | Fort Sill Public Affairs | Aug. 9, 2023

FORT SILL, Okla. — Fort Sill highlighted its spirit of camaraderie and community as it claimed the title of Army Emergency Relief’s best large installation. This distinction marks a significant achievement in Soldier-driven donations.

Due to the unwavering dedication of Soldiers and the community, Fort Sill amassed $107,440 in donations from active-duty Soldiers and $161,292 overall. This contribution surpassed many other significant installations in the endeavor to assist fellow Soldiers and their Families.

Ken Lewis, Fort Sill’s AER officer, exuded enthusiasm when speaking of the achievement.

“It’s not just about the award,” he said. “It’s about Soldiers showing they care about each other, boosting morale.”

This award signifies more than just a win — it embodied the essence of Soldiers looking out for one another, he said.

One of the notable strides this year was the introduction of a campaign coordination team. Lewis pointed out the distinction between past years and now.

“Having the CCT made a difference,” he said. “We had military manpower that could directly engage with the troops and create awareness about AER’s mission.”

Lewis also emphasized the importance of a united front, praising the bowling tournament.

“Our bowling tournament was a game-changer,” he said. “Soldiers love to compete, and when it’s for a cause as noble as this, the energy is unmatched.”

The event, highlighted by the installation’s public affairs office, boosted the visibility and significance of AER’s mission.

The donations significantly impact Soldiers’ lives.

“Just last week, we assisted a Soldier whose AC broke during the scorching 100-degree heat,” Lewis said.

The funds support more than just emergency repairs.

“We also aided a Soldier’s spouse, providing for rent while the husband was job-hunting,” Lewis added.

AER offers its support to active-duty, Guard, Reserve Soldiers on Title 10 orders, and even retirees, including those medically retired. For Families to benefit, Soldiers must initiate the process, ensuring the donations serve their intended purpose.

The flexibility of AER loans is another commendable feature. Depending on the individual’s budget, loan repayment can be tailored to the Soldier’s financial capacity, with durations that work for the Soldier.

Discussing the national recognition’s value, Lewis said, “It’s fantastic! It’s not just for us but for the Soldiers. This is really a Fort Sill award.”

The award ceremony is set for Oct. 10 in Washington D.C., at the Association of the United States Army convention.

Looking ahead, the goal remains: sustain the momentum and preserve the ethos of “Soldiers Helping Soldiers.” Initiatives for next year’s campaigns are already underway, with the bowling tournament and CCT teams leading the charge.

Lewis credited an individual behind their achievements: “None of this would’ve been possible without Dan Farrell, AER assistant and campaign coordinator. He is the driving force behind our success.”

AER’s success at Fort Sill illustrates what’s attainable when a community unites, setting a global standard for installations. At Fort Sill, “Soldiers Helping Soldiers” isn’t merely a slogan; it’s a lifestyle, Lewis said.

For more on the AER Annual Campaign, go to