Army Emergency Relief gives back to Vicenza Soldiers

VICENZA, Italy – When military leaders packed the Army Community Service on Caserma Ederle recently to kick off the Army Emergency Relief campaign, they highlighted crucial aspects to the program that offers so much to Soldiers in their times of need.   AER helps service members financially with anything from utilities to emergency travel. Depending on the situation and other factors, applicants can receive either a grant, which doesn’t have to be paid back, or a loan that is payed back with monthly installments.   
  Col. Scott Horrigan, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Italy, shared the story of a young soldier originally from Nepal who needed financial help when his father passed away while here in Italy. Through his team leaders and AER, he received a grant to help cover the unexpected cost of funeral expenses, allowing the family to face the emotions of losing a loved one.     “Young Soldiers, they don’t plan for those type of events, no one plans financially to make sure something like that is covered, but AER was there,” Horrigan said. “It’s a tremendous thing the Army does to take care of its people.”     In Vicenza, the program gave $470,000 in assistance last year and $80,000 this year, according to Steve Mendiola, an ACS employee who oversee AER locally.     “This is something that goes a long way, for the mere fact that soldiers don’t have to worry about it,” Mendiola said.     The Army’s official nonprofit, the program has been helping Soldiers since 1942. The most critical piece to AER – funding through donations – was the aim of the March 1 gathering. This year, the AER campaign runs until June 14, to coincide with the Army’s birthday.     Soldiers, civilians and contractors can all donate to this program. ACS on Caserma Ederle can receive donations. For more information, visit the AER website at or call 0444-71-5842 OR you can take part in the local $5 per month campaign.