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Army Emergency Relief is designed to help Soldiers, their families, and other qualified recipients when they have an emergency, but those emergencies take many different forms.

While working at Redstone Arsenal, Capt. Arthur Tyson found himself knee-deep, well almost, in a unique situation.

It was certainly an emergency, but not one many people would think of if you asked them to list five emergency situations. It might not make the list if you asked them to name 100.

“The whole yard just started flooding,” he said.

It turns out the leach field that handled the gray water in Tyson’s home had failed.

“My whole yard turned into a swamp, and the washer started backing up, so I couldn’t do laundry,” he said.

Tyson is a do-it-yourself type person and decided to make the repairs himself. He needed to rent a backhoe and purchase the materials he’d need to fix the problem. Even though the total cost of the project was less than it would cost to pay someone to do it, backhoes are not cheap.

He needed to get his hands on about $2,100 quickly.

Have you ever tried to get someone to give you $100 quickly?

After filling out some paperwork, AER had him a check in less than 24 hours, and AER loans are interest-free.

“It was really easy to fill out,” he said. “It was like basic information and why you need it.”

Funding may not always be available in under 24 hours, but as long as the paperwork is filled out correctly, which is usually second nature for Soldiers, AER’s goal is to get the money to the people who need it quickly.

For example, to receive the funding, Tyson had to provide AER with quotes for what he needed, explain why he needed it and give some other information. But he said it wasn’t nearly as involved as it would have been if he had gone through an insurance claim.

“It was: This is how much you need. That makes sense to us. Here’s your check,” he said. “And, then, the money got taken out of my paycheck over 12 months.”

The forms can be found online at AER’s website,

The kickoff for Redstone Arsenal’s annual AER fundraising drive is right around the corner. The goal is to raise $130,000. This year the event will be March 4 at 2:45 p.m. at Pershing Welcome Center, building 3443 on Aerobee Road.

And each organization should provide at least one Army Emergency Relief key representative’s name, organization, email address and phone number by Friday to Capt. Melanie Appleton,, 842-7090.

The training will be Feb. 27 from 10-11 a.m. and 2-3 p.m., also Feb. 28 from 10-11 a.m. and each rep is required to attend at least one of the trainings.

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