Fort Riley, Kansas



Social serving Soldiers, spouses: second year counting

By Bryan Bartlett | SPECIAL TO THE 1ST INF. DIV. POST | May 26, 2017

     Every Wednesday night for the last two years, staff from the Candlewood Suites and the Army Community Service Re­location Program have hosted the International Hotels Group Social.


     It is a free meal and social event for incoming and out­going Soldiers and their fami­lies. It is free for anyone with a military ID card to stop by and learn about the programs and services available here at Fort Riley, including housing, employment, education, child and youth services, volunteer­ing and more.

     Regardless of where a fam­ily currently resides, the IHG Social is here every week rain, sleet or snow to help our Sol­diers and family members meet their needs.

     Some questions answered at the IHG Social include are you:

  1. Looking for housing on Fort Riley or within the local communities?

  2. Needing financial assistance through AER loans or grants?

  3. Looking to make a large purchase such as a car, furniture, or large appliances (Financial counselors are there to provide assistance)?

  4. Sleeping on the floor or air mattress waiting on your household items to arrive?

  5. Needing assistance with English as a second language?

  6. Wanting to go to college and earn your at no cost Associates Degree?

  7. A spouse looking to further his/her career or to start a new career?

  8. Needing childcare on Fort Riley or looking at the different schools on post and off post?

  9. Deciding between Manhattan or Junction City School Districts and all the Arts, Athletics, Academics departments?

  10. Looking to participate in youth sports as a coach or referee or sign up your children?

  11. In need of a sponsor or have sponsorship concerns that need chain of command involvement?

  12. Wanting to attend a certain religious service and do not know when or where the service is being held?

  13. Just looking for things to do in the local community?


         If you have questions like these, the IHG Social is for you.

         The primary focus of the IHG Social is to allow Army spouses the opportunity to sit down and discuss their future with subject matter experts. Many on-post business partners are present to provide informa­tion. The social is open to all newcomers and soon-to-depart Soldiers, regardless of where they are currently residing.

         The IHG Social averages 60 Soldiers and family mem­bers each week, which means in the last two years more than 6,000 people have signed in for the social. It gives the spouse or family member the opportunity to receive the information first-hand just as they are arriving to Fort Riley. So, as the Soldier is going through in-processing, the spouse is submitting job applications or enrolling in col­lege with the help of the subject matter expert.

         Along with assisting the Army spouse in all the differ­ent programs offered, the IHG Social has also been beneficial to the 1st Infantry Division command team catching and assisting Soldiers with personal problems, financial crises, or sponsorship concerns while they are still inprocessing. Be­ing able to sit and discuss all the options or make appointments as necessary fixes many Soldier issues before they ever arrive to the unit.

         For the more serious cases, being able to notify the chain of command immediately to be­gin providing assistance to the Soldier or family member has been very beneficial as well.

         Over the past two years, representatives from several agencies have attended the so­cial at Candlewood Suites like Beth Lohman, general manager for IGH Army Hotels, Bryan Bartlett ACS relocation man­ager, Shirley Avant-Ferguson from Education Services, Sandy Johnson the school liaison offi­cer with Child and Youth Ser­vices, William Townsend from the Religious Support Office, Edwin Ramos and Tim Morgan Fort Riley Housing Division, Becky Willis, ACS volunteer coordinator, Erika Harrington ACS Exceptional Family Mem­ber Program, Luis Catinchi, Carol Buchli, and Scott Wade­son, ACS personal finance counselors, William “Bill” Brooks Armed Forces Bank, Sgt. 1st Class Jermaine Phillips, 1st Inf. Div. sponsorship non­commissioned officer in charge, Sgt. Dasha Long, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team sponsor­ship noncommissioned officer.

         A sincere ’thank you’ goes to Sanctuary Division Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Stephens and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. James Collins for their support and time, as well as to all the other command teams who have attended throughout the last two years.

         Finally, Thank you to the dedicated Soldiers and civilians who come out every Wednes­day night, many volunteering their time to help and support the 1st Inf. Div. Soldiers and family members arriving to the ‘Big Red One’ as they start their lives here at Fort Riley, Kansas.

          For more information about the weekly social, call me, Bryan Bartlett, at 785-239-5739.


Tag Relocation Readiness