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Army Emergency Relief representatives
at Fort Drum will relaunch campaign in July


Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs


FORT DRUM, N.Y. (June 24, 2020) – The annual Army Emergency Relief (AER) campaign kicked off at Fort Drum in early March, until it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AER officials will relaunch a monthlong campaign, starting July 1.  

Fort Drum AER representatives across the 10th Mountain Division (LI) will use this time to inform more Soldiers about the program and how they can contribute.

“Since the campaign has been extended to July 31, we need everyone’s assistance to get the message out,” said Michael Ferguson, Fort Drum AER officer. “In addition to the monetary goal, every year we have an equally important goal to inform 100-percent of the installation about our program.”

Ferguson said that the campaign had a successful start months ago when the 1st Brigade Combat Team organized their fundraising efforts ahead of their deployment, and the retiree community also has made significant contributions. Then COVID-19 ended that momentum. Ferguson said that roughly $86,000 was raised, with a goal of $150,000.

“It definitely was a reachable goal before, and I think we can still get close, if not reach our goal,” he said.

The Army Emergency Relief program has been supporting Soldiers since 1942 with crucial financial assistance when needed the most. Ferguson said that the current global pandemic has proven just how AER can help.

“We’ve had several service members get caught in a PCS (permanent change of station) limbo,” he said. “They needed funds to stay in their hotels longer than they had expected. Or they had placed money down for a home at their new station, but with the stop-movement order they needed help with rent here until they could continue their move.”

Ferguson said that another case involved a retired Soldier who was struggling to pay bills because of the sudden loss of income in their family.

“We were able to help bridge that gap for them until the spouse started receiving unemployment insurance,” he said.

AER provides aid for service members and their families to help pay for utilities, vehicle repairs, funeral expenses, home repairs and more. Ferguson said that no one knows if or when they will need AER, but service members and their families should be aware that assistance is available 24/7, every day, worldwide.

At Fort Drum, more than $1.6 million in funds were provided to roughly 1,275 Soldiers in 2019. AER processed 540 educational grants totaling $215,229 during the 2018-19 academic year and assisted more than 4,000 students (children and spouses).

AER receives no federal funding, and 90 cents of every dollar donated through the campaign goes right back to Soldiers. According to AER, every $10 donated turns into $30 of assistance.

“AER is all about Soldiers taking care of Soldiers – yesterday, today and tomorrow,” Ferguson said. “We never know when that event, that tragedy or that emergency will happen. But what you do know is that your Army Emergency Relief is here for you and ready to assist. It’s what we do.”

For more information, contact the Fort Drum AER office at (315) 772-6560 or 772-8873, or visit The AER office is located in the ACS Annex, Bldg. 435A on MWR Drive.

To learn more about how AER provides support during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

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