‘Making a Difference’

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Leadership of this installation kicked-off the annual Army Emergency Relief fundraising campaign here at a morning ceremony, March 9.

The AER breakfast guest speaker Guy Shields, communications and public affairs officer for AER headquarters and retired Army colonel, highlighted the theme of this year’s campaign called, “Making a Difference.”

Fundraising for the AER fund is promoted from March 1 to May 15. The program is billed as Soldiers taking care of Soldiers.

Anyone can contribute to the general fund by filling out a form available with unit AER representatives, said Parrish Cruz, AER vofficer for Fort Irwin. The organization is a non-profit that raises funds Army-wide and provides financial assistance to active duty Soldiers, Army Reserve and National Guard service members on orders for 30 days or more, and retired Veterans. In 2014, Fort Irwin received $779,135.

The assistance can be in the form of grants and loans.

Shields explained that AER was established in 1942, when Soldiers made $26 per month. He emphasized that leaders today make a difference by fostering an environment where Soldiers feel comfortable asking for help, which can be one of the most difficult things for a service member to do.

Donations to the AER fund can be made by filling out Department of the Army form 4908 and providing cash, a check or creating an allotment from pay, Cruz said.

For more information, or to donate, contact Cruz at 380-3515.