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Army Emergency Relief organizers at Redstone are on a deadline.

They are working to identify all of the key representatives on post by Friday. This will allow them to be ready for the AER fundraiser campaign kickoff on March 5.

AER is a program designed to help active duty, retired Soldiers and their families, surviving spouses and children, and Army Reserve and National Guard and their families in times of need with no-interest loans.

Being a key rep is an important job. Each key rep will be put on appointment orders and will be responsible for helping raise money by coming up with fundraisers and then delivering that money to AER, according to Capt. Melanie Appleton, HHC AMCOM company commander, who is spearheading the project with Kathleen Riester, the Army Emergency Relief officer.

“People get really creative,” Riester said. “One year (a group) had a football from Alabama, and they got signatures on it and auctioned it off. That was wildly successful.”

In 2019, AER said it provided $70 million in assistance to about 40,000 Soldiers and their families.

That included $29 million in basic living expenses, $20 million in personal transportation, $8 million in educational scholarships, $7 million in emergency travel, $2 million in funeral expenses, and $1.5 million in medical and dental assistance.

Soldiers’ contributions, active and retired, totaled $5.6 million last year, and 90 percent of all the money collected goes to assisting those who need it.

Since it was founded in 1942, AER has provided $2 billion in assistance and helped 4 million Soldiers.

Those interested in being a key rep can call Appleton at 842-7090. The training will take place the last week of February.

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