Division, Fort Riley honor Soldiers, civilians
Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie, senior commander, Fort Riley, presents Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Gillespie, HHC, STB, 1st ABCT, with a medallion that indicates he is a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club during a Dec. 13 ceremony at division headquarters. Two “Big Red One” NCOs were inducted into the club, which recognizes outstanding sergeants. Photo by: Amanda Kim Stairrett, 1ST INF. DIV.
Story by: Amanda Kim Stairrett
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Two Soldiers, an Army spouse and a local educator were honored Dec. 13 for their contributions to the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley.
SERGEANT AUDIE MURPHY CLUB
Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Gillespie, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., and Staff Sgt. Lucas Brown, Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Inf. Div., were selected for the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club for their leadership as noncommissioned officers.
Club nominees go through two phases of screening by senior NCOs in their battalions and brigades, said Fort Riley Command Sgt. Maj. Miguel Rivera. Once approved to advance, they go before a board of the post's top NCOs, where they are quizzed on leading, caring for, coaching and teaching Soldiers.
Gillespie is a telecommunications operations chief with three combat deployments to Iraq under his belt. He and his wife have two teenage children. Gillespie also is a volunteer with the Boy Scouts.
Brown is a tuba player in the 1st Inf. Div. Band. He has served once in Iraq and twice in Afghanistan, having recently returned from the 1st Inf. Div.-led Regional Command – East. It was while based at Bagram he served as a volunteer with the USO. He and his wife have two young children.
Gillespie and Brown are two great NCOs who truly earned induction into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, Rivera said.
DR. MARY E. WALKER AWARD
Melanie Hutchinson was named the latest recipient of the Dr. Mary E. Walker Award for her volunteerism and service to the post's schools and her husband's former unit, the 601st Aviation Support Battalion, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div.
Hutchinson, a mother of two, was not present for the ceremony, as her husband, Capt. Brian Hutchinson, recently had a (permanent change of station) to the University of Texas to serve as an ROTC executive officer. Brian Hutchinson last commanded Co. A, 601st ASB.
Melanie Hutchinson has volunteered her time at other installations throughout her husband's career, most recently organizing successful school fundraisers at Fort Riley.
Ronald Walker, superintendent, Geary County Schools Unified School District 475, was named one of three Distinguished Troopers June 13 as part of the Victory Week festivities, but preparing for the school year kept him busy. He wasn't able to accept the award until Dec. 13. The other two awardees named this year were Scott Stuckey and Ben Bennett.
The Distinguished Trooper honor is the most prestigious award to be bestowed upon private citizens in the Fort Riley area. It is given to civilians who provide sustained superior service to the Fort Riley community.
USD 475 has received many accolades in the last year and a half, and all in the division "know it takes a leader to make that happen," said Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie, senior commander, Fort Riley.
"He and his educators take care of our most precious jewels – our children," MacWillie said of Walker.
Walker said he and his staff would do whatever it takes to ensure children received the best possible education.
"It's not a job for us," he said. "It's a mission."