Skip Vaughn | Redstone Rocket | March 15, 2023
Lisa Williams felt she needed to take control of her finances. Her late husband, retired Staff Sgt. Jerry Williams, had taken good care of the Family but now he was gone. The mother of three was on her own. And the hot water heater went out and she didn’t have the money to replace it.
For help, the Huntsville woman went to Olivia Pierce, financial readiness program manager at Army Community Service. Williams received the help she needed, a grant from Army Emergency Relief.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
Williams shared her story during the annual AER campaign kickoff Thursday at The Overlook. The fundraising campaign continues through May 15.
“I’m so blessed. This is where your money goes,” Williams said.
AER, established in 1942, provides assistance to active duty and retired military, their Families and surviving spouses in times of financial need. Nationally more than $35 million in loans and grants were provided to Soldiers and their Families in 2022.
“It’s a great program,” Capt. Jeremy Myles, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company AMCOM, said. “It’s for Soldiers.”
Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Dylan Lemasters, who quipped that he is a “recovering over-spender,” talked about the importance of Army Emergency Relief.
“AER is really there to invest in Soldiers at times of financial needs,” Lemasters said.
In 2022 at Redstone Arsenal, 28 Soldiers and retired Soldiers received about $77,000. Twenty-one received $68,000 in loans, three received $5,000 in loan/grant combinations and four received $4,000 in grants.
Throughout the campaign, key representatives from each tenant organization will hold fundraising events across Redstone. The campaign goal is to bring awareness about what Army Emergency Relief does.
“Army Emergency Relief is funded 100 percent by donations,” Pierce said.
About 85 people attended the campaign kickoff during the Team Redstone Financial Symposium.