FORT LEE, Va. – Military families facing financial hardships have options thanks to the Army Emergency Relief fund, which begins its annual drive here March 1 and continues through May 15.

“For the past 75 years, AER has maintained a rich history of taking care of Soldiers,” said Patsy Piggott, Army Community Service, AER specialist. “The focus, as always, is to continue to provide valuable resources for military members of all ranks and their families when faced with emergency financial difficulties. The goal of the campaign is to raise contributions to replenish funds and to increase awareness of the availability of AER.”

AER provides financial aid to all military service members and their families who are facing hardships through grants and interest-free loans. Last year, donations associated with Fort Lee provided financial support to military families in need totaling $915,302.

Soldiers needing AER financial assistance can either contact their unit chain of command or go directly to their local installation AER office.

By having reciprocal agreements in place with the other military aid societies, Soldiers and families not near an Army installation also can receive AER assistance at the nearest Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard installation with the respective Military Aid Society, or from the American Red Cross call center at (877) 272-7337.

“Army Emergency Relief is so important to the installation because it helps to improve the quality of life for thousands of our Soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice every day,” Piggott said, “So please give generously.”

Fort Lee will celebrate the fund’s 75th anniversary with a campaign kick-off program March 2, 2 p.m., at the Lee Theater.

Col Adam W. Butler, garrison commander, will host the event, and the program will highlight the theme “Soldiers taking care of Soldiers in times of financial difficulties and emergencies.”

The guest speaker will be retired Sgt. Maj. Donald Vincent, loan management officer, Army Emergency Relief.

To donate or to learn more about the AER program, visit

Media planning to attend the AER campaign kick-off must contact Sarah Gauvin at 804-734-6965, 804-400-7273 or by noon, Thursday to coordinate an escort to the event.


Fort Lee Soldiers, families and civilian employees began a century of support to the nation in 1917 when Camp Lee was established to train the 80th Division for service during WWI. Today, Fort Lee is the Army’s Home of Sustainment and supports the training, education and development of adaptive Army professionals in fields such as transportation, supply, culinary arts and equipment repair and maintenance. Major organizations on the installation include the Defense Commissary Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency, Combined Arms Support Command, the Army Logistics University, U.S. Army Ordnance School, U.S. Army Quartermaster School and U.S. Army Transportation School. Fort Lee supports nearly 86,000 Soldiers, retirees, veterans, family members and civilian employees and boasts an economic impact of about $2.4 billion per year.