Emergency relief
KMC kicks off 2006 Army Emergency Relief Campaign

Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

Staff Sgt. Ronnie Showers is ready for Monday, when the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern kicks off the 2006 Army Emergency Relief Campaign here for almost 40 Army units.

Staff Sergeant Showers, the 66th Transportation Company assistant truck master and AER key person, knows just what to say to the almost 130 Soldiers who work at the 66th Trans. Co. on Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern.

“I will just tell them that it’s a good organization to contribute to, and I will share some of my experiences on what I’ve encountered with AER throughout my 18-year career in the Army,” said Staff Sergeant Showers, who has contributed to AER throughout those 18 years.  “AER has been helping me for years since I was a PFC (private 1st class) until now.”

Dedicated to “Helping the Army Take Care of Its Own,” AER is the Army’s own emergency financial assistance organization providing assistance to active-duty and retired Soldiers and their families when there is a valid need.

***image1***“It’s Soldiers helping Soldiers,” said Gwen Galloway, the garrison’s AER assistant. “Soldiers who contribute add to a fund that goes solely to helping Soldiers in times of financial hardship.”

The KMC’s AER campaign ends May 12. Last year’s campaign here raised about $69,000 and the goal for this year is to raise $73,000.

The AER fund here gave out $525,390 assistance in 1,692 cases last year, said Mrs. Galloway. When Hurricane Katrina hit the coastline of Mississippi last August, Staff Sergeant Showers received $2,000 loan from the AER so he could move his parents, daughter and in-laws from
Biloxi, Miss., to Atlanta.

“I didn’t know what I was facing in regards to mine or my wife’s parents’ situation,” he said. “We just didn’t know what to expect or how much money we might need.”

When Staff Sergeant Showers returned here, he found out that AER loans for Hurricane Katrina had turn into grants.

 “I contribute to AER every year as long as I’ve been in the military not because they’ve helped me out but because it’s the right thing to do,” said Staff Sergeant Showers. “You never know what kind of emergency you will encounter.”

Throughout this year’s campaign, key persons will contact active-duty and reserve Soldiers in their units for AER contributions. Mrs. Galloway said the fund is also for Army retirees, who are also encouraged to contribute.

For more information, call Mrs. Galloway at 489-7063.