Military Matters: Ft. Benning wraps Army Emergency Relief fund drive in honor of Gen. Patton

Military Matters: Ft. Benning wraps Army Emergency Relief fund drive in honor of Gen. Patton
(Source: WTVM)

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - Fort Benning has just wrapped another successful AER fund drive on post.

AER stands for Army Emergency Relief, a fund that provides a financial safety net for soldiers of all ranks.

It got a big boost years ago from the general they called Old Blood and Guts.

The way many of us first heard of General George S. Patton was through a movie about his World War II service, titled "Patton."

It was named Best Picture back in 1970 and earned actor George C. Scott an Academy Award, which he refused.

Patton served as Commanding General of Fort Benning prior to the war. He and his wife Beatrice lived in a house on Baltzell Ave.

If you are looking for a little-known fact about Patton, how about this:

"He was somewhat independently wealthy, and he decided that he would not take funds from his annual pay, and he donated that all to Army Emergency Relief," said Lionel Grant, Sr., who is with the AER.

Patton chose to give back to the Army for the care of its own. The AER fund has been providing financial assistance for those in need for more than 80 years.

"You may have a person going on emergency leave due to death of a family member," said Grant. "Or you may have a soldier or spouse who may have a soldier or spouse who may have a car that is broken, that needs to be repaired, and they don't have the funds to be able to repair that vehicle. And we're there for them to take care of that."

Funds are available through grants, interest-free loans, even scholarships for children of soldiers.

Last year, Fort Benning raised more than $160,000 during the campaign, and in return gave out almost $3 million to the community.

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