AER campaign begins on Fort Leonard Wood
Thursday, 16 March 2017
From left; Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general; Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Ward, former MSCoE and FLW command sergeant major; Col. Tracy Lanier, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Orvis, USAG FLW, make the installationís first contributions to AER March 8 at Pershing Community Center.
Story and photo by Derek Gean
Assistant editor
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Fort Leonard Wood’s 2017 Army Emergency Relief Campaign is officially underway.

This year’s campaign kicked off March 8 with a breakfast featuring retired Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth Preston as keynote speaker.

According to Chuck Matthews, AER relief officer, the goal of the campaign, scheduled to run through June 15, is $125,000.

“We can do it, we’ve done it before and I am sure we will have a successful campaign this year,” Matthews said.

Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, highlighted many of the benefits of AER before introducing Preston.

“We are certainly fortunate in the United States Army to have Army Emergency Relief to very quickly help out our Soldiers and Families as they deal with tough financial times,” Savre said. “Nobody really supports that effort more than we do here at Fort Leonard Wood. Last year we raised (more than) $100,000 and not only did we support countless Soldiers and Family members and other team players here at Fort Leonard Wood, but we gave out 60 scholarships as well to military Families to help with their education.”

Preston, who served as sergeant major of the Army for seven years, said mission readiness is the key for the Army, and programs such as AER help Soldiers with the pressures at home.

“When you look at the Army, we are a people-centric organization. People are the Army. That is something we take very serious. The Army has been very good about taking care of itself. Army Emergency Relief has always been one of those programs created by the Army for the Army to do exactly that,” said Preston, who retired in 2011.

Preston said Soldiers often fear asking for help from AER because of a perceived stigma that goes along with asking for assistance. They often look to other sources for relief such as payday loans and pawn shops, he added.

“I worry about the things that go on out there and where Soldiers go to seek help,” Preston said. He encouraged Soldiers to consider AER before seeking out high-interest lenders and encouraged Soldiers to support the program.

“We can all be very proud that Soldiers are taking care of Soldiers,” Preston said.

AER began in 1942 and is the Army’s emergency financial assistance organization. Since its beginning, the program has provided more than $1.7 billion to Soldiers and their Families in the forms of loans, grants and scholarships. The program helps aid with emergency situations such as car repairs, rent, emergency travel, utilities and food.

According to Matthews, in 2016 Fort Leonard Wood provided $583,753 in emergency assistance and afforded scholarships of $145,995.

Program donations are solicited from active-duty Soldiers and retired Soldiers but anyone can donate. Active-duty and retired Soldiers can contribute by allotment, and others can donate directly. Matthews said AER will be presenting information to Soldiers in the coming weeks.

For more information or to donate, visit or contact Matthews at 573.596.0131, ext. 60212.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 March 2017 )