DVIDS – News – AER Scores “Winning” Success at Fort Jackson

The annual Army Emergency Relief Campaign is over and Fort Jackson is leading the way in providing funds to soldiers, retirees and their family members in times of need.

The EAR is the only official non-profit organization in the military and prides itself on being “soldiers helping soldiers since 1942” by providing interest-free loans and grants to help soldiers, retirees and their families. through financially devastating events such as house fires, an unexpected financial crisis and the death of a family member.

Through campaign efforts, Fort Jackson raised $137,206 this year, earning Fort Jackson the All Army Campaign Award for Large Installations.

According to Staff Sgt. Matthew Willis, 165th Infantry Brigade AER Campaign Coordinator NCO in charge, $78,000 was generated through payroll deducted donations and the remainder of the funds generated through individual donations offered through payment kiosks located at the Shoppettes and the Exchange.

“When a soldier needs financial assistance, they can come to us,” said Wanda Redd, ARE’s Fort Jackson Army Community Service Specialist. “We provide loans to soldiers in the form of grants or interest-free loans. Lenders outside the gate can lend money to soldiers with interest from 9% to 180%.

High interest loans, often called predatory loans, are offered through payday loan and instant money companies. Although they are easy to obtain, they sometimes become a difficult financial burden to solve and can lead to further financial crises.

“Our job is to make sure soldiers and their families get the help they need while maintaining a good budget and financial readiness,” Redd said.

Redd also said soldiers often patronized these moneylenders because they were embarrassed to ask for help through his office.

“We like to talk to them and make them feel comfortable,” Redd explained. “Life happens and sometimes you have to ask for help.”

Although Redd is an AER specialist, her office falls under the financial readiness area offered by the ACS office. The people she works with offer a variety of in-person and remote workshop options to help soldiers, retirees, civilians and their family members make wise financial decisions.

“We are not financial planners, we are financial advisors. We are here to educate,” said ACS Financial Advisor Angela Crosland. “Rising costs for housing, food, business property and gasoline are affecting our members at this time and we offer individual advice which is excellent for individual recommendations as well as financial courses.”

ACS Financial Advisors offer courses for all age groups from budgeting for those just joining the military to retirement planning and tools for those taking their retired or who have retired from military or government service.

Classes in couponing, budgeting for couples, savings plan, home buying, and credit building and rebuilding classes are offered for those in the middle of their military career.

While EAR is part of ACS’s offerings, the office offers “the complete package” of financial preparation and financial aid.

“It’s great to help soldiers,” Redd said. “I’ve always liked being able to help people, so helping a soldier or a pensioner and their family is the best feeling.”

So far this fiscal year, the ARE office at Fort Jackson has distributed $663,324 to soldiers and their families. Of this amount, $142,683 was paid in the form of a grant.

For those looking for EAR service or financial management courses, contact the ACS office at 751-5256. To learn more about upcoming classes and events, visit their website at jackson.armymwr.com/programs/army#

Date taken: 28.07.2022
Date posted: 28.07.2022 13:21
Story ID: 426015
Location: FORT JACKSON, South Carolina, USA

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