About 10 years ago, when Eddie Sherrod was a young specialist working in field artillery, his son was diagnosed with cancer.

“It was very stressful. My wife wasn’t working, we had just purchased a house and going back and forth to Chapel Hill was very expensive,” Sherrod said.

To help him and his Family out, he reached out to Fort Bragg’s Army Emergency Relief and worked with Darla Cureton, who is currently a Fort Bragg AER officer.

“I’m not here to sell you anything. I’m not a salesman,” Sherrod said during an AER opening ceremony geared toward commanders and command sergeants major. “But AER will always hold a special place in my heart because it got me two grants, which enabled me to pay everything I needed to pay and keep my finances going well.”

Although his son lost his battle with cancer, Sherrod said at the time AER had lifted a tremendous burden off his shoulders, allowing him to focus on his child and not on worrying about money.

Now a staff sergeant with the 44th Medical Brigade and a father of two sons, Sherrod continues to recommend AER to his Soldiers.

“They (Soldiers) got out of the situation they were in and went on to do great things. (AER) is a great tool that will help Soldiers become ready to face life’s challenges,” he said.

The AER fundraising campaign began March 1 and continues through May.

Cureton said the campaign not only raises awareness for AER and allows them to maintain its non-profit status as charity, but also makes sure Soldiers are given the opportunity to help each other.

“This is an opportunity for Soldiers to give to this fund (that helps) Soldiers like Staff Sgt. Sherrod,” she said. “Let us continue to help our Soldiers by supporting the AER mission and getting 100 percent contact with our Soldiers; that means to get into contact with every single one of your Soldiers in your unit and giving them the opportunity to give.”

This year’s AER campaign goal is $400,000. Soldiers interested in donating should contact their unit campaign manager for allotment forms and information or they can contact AER at 396-2507.

“It’s a great program,” Sherrod said. “It’s something great to donate to because it’s not something that is just helping Soldiers but for you (leaders) to be comforted in knowing your Soldiers are in good hands.”