Wrangler Brigade Raises More Than $30,300 for Army Emergency Relief
By Pfc. Sean McGuire Public Affairs Specialist 4th Sustainment Brigade
FORT HOOD, Texas — During the past few months, representatives across the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), sought to reach the Wrangler Team’s goal of $20,000 in collections for its Army Emergency Relief campaign.
By the end of the AER collection period last month, the Wrangler Brigade had exceeded its initial goal and raised more than $30,300.
The campaign’s purpose: helping Soldiers.
“It’s about taking care of Soldiers at the beginning so they’re not focused on money. If we can get them on a budget once they arrive to the unit and get them to be smart with their money then they can focus on their mission,” said Staff Sgt. Ronald Mandeville, the new command financial specialist for the brigade.
Mandeville said he believes that the key to life is through finances. It is sentiments such as that which helped spark the brigade-wide campaign in search of those willing to give back to their own.
“If Soldiers can get a plan and are able to do their job better – that’s the key to our job,” he said.
Other members of the team are Staff Sgt. Robert Kelley, the CFS for the 4th Brigade Troops Battalion and the outgoing brigade CFS, Sgt. 1st Class Mike Yuras. Their job is to advise and assist Soldiers when they’re in need financially.
Between tending to lines of Soldiers outside their offices daily, they did their share of collecting during the campaign as well. They did so alongside numerous other leaders across the unit.
“I feel that when you financially advise someone and they take that advice, you make a change in their immediate future and for the rest of their life,” said Yuras.
Yuras became the brigade’s CFS during the Wrangler Brigade’s deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008-2009 when he was the rear detachment first sergeant. He found it was a good way to have a positive influence on Soldiers.
He said the benefits of AER have had a positive effect on him as well. Years ago, before Yuras was a noncommissioned officer and he was newly married, his wife lost a child; AER was there with more than $4,000 in grants to pay for hospital bills.
“They don’t just look at your financial status – they look at your situation,” he said.
Staff Sgt. Reginald Wright is another Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th BTB Soldier who received help from AER. Wright spent eight years as a combat medic before becoming a reservist. When he re-entered active duty in September 2007, he had to transition from Michigan to Fort Hood. That move put a lot of financial stress on his plate.
Wright said he had to manage moving four of his six children to Texas, enrolling them in school, and finding a house. He also had to get acquainted with his new unit which was set to deploy to Kuwait. In the midst of all of that was the need for financial assistance.
“I talked to our first sergeant one day during the morning, and he asked me three questions: what do you need the money for, what are you doing with your regular-pay, and are you a good Soldier,” said Wright.
By that afternoon Wright had his loan.
“I got it done all in one day. I had my check and I deposited it, so now I could afford to wait for on post housing,” he said.
For years now, Wright has given back to both AER and the American Red Cross because he said he wants to “give back to those who’ve helped me and many others.”
Soldiers can login to the Army Emergency Relief website through their Army Knowledge Online account to authorize an allotment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)
Staff Sgt. Reginald Wright is an ammo supply sergeant and funeral team commander for the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Fort Hood, Texas. Army Emergency Relief helped Wright and his family with financial assistance on more than one occasion which is why he helps contribute to the fund each year. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Erick Ritterby)