Sean Kimmons | U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs Office | March 10, 2022
CAMP ZAMA, Japan – When a water crisis struck a military housing community in Hawaii last year, Brad Morgan and others helped Army Emergency Relief provide over $1 million in assistance grants to affected families.
The $600 grants allowed Soldiers to buy drinkable water and other basic needs until the water contamination could be remedied.
“That’s just one way we can help,” said Morgan, the AER officer at Camp Zama’s Army Community Service.
Last year, AER provided $44.8 million in loans and grants to almost 26,000 Soldiers and families.
Morgan, along with help from unit representatives, is currently on a mission to inform all Soldiers in Japan of the benefits of the program.
He hopes donated funds will once again be available to assist Soldiers during the next crisis, whether it happens here or somewhere else.
“It’s important,” he said of the program. “When I was in the Army, it was like a brotherhood. You want to help out a fellow Soldier.”
On March 1, AER launched its annual campaign, which runs through May 15, to solicit voluntary donations and highlight what it can offer.
The nonprofit organization helps active-duty and retired Soldiers as well as eligible dependents in financial need with zero-interest loans and grants for various emergency situations. Some include car and home repairs, medical payments, funeral expenses, emergency travel, and natural disaster preparation and evacuation.
At Camp Zama, Morgan said he generally sees requests for emergency travel assistance, which can cover expenses such as airfare, rental car, gas, hotel and food.
He also helped a Soldier receive funds after his family’s home in Louisiana was damaged following a hurricane.
Morgan encourages anyone who notices a Soldier struggling financially to have them visit him or the AER website, so they can potentially avoid high-interest loans by some lenders.
“If they see a Soldier in financial need, have them come to us and not to go to a predatory lender online,” he said. “We have interest-free loans or grants.”
Last year, the Camp Zama community donated more than $2,300, and U.S. Army Medical Department Activity–Japan had the largest amount of donations. About $1,400 was donated the year before.
“There’s no dollar amount goal,” Morgan said of this year’s campaign. “But the goal is to get 100% of the Soldiers aware of what AER can do and how they can help.”
Donations can be collected at Army Community Service or online at www.ArmyEmergencyRelief.org. For more information, contact Morgan at 263-4455.