Family Readiness Groups ready barracks for returning 1st Infantry Division single soldiers
December 12, 2008
By Dena O'Dell
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Military spouses from Alpha Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Sustainment Brigade, decorated the barracks of single Soldiers of both companies Dec. 5 in anticipation of the unit's redeployment to Fort Riley.
Both Family Readiness Groups stocked the barrack rooms with needed supplies and hung signs welcoming the Soldiers back to Kansas.
Michelle Cousins, HHC's FRG leader, whose husband, Capt. Cory Cousins is the company's commander, said she was looking forward to her husband's return so the two could work more closely together.
"We have a very good personal relationship, but we've never actually gotten to work together, so I am very eager to be able to work with him one-on-one," Cousins said.
The couple has been married for six years and have two children, Camryn, 5, and Marcus, 4. In addition to working alongside her husband, Michelle said she also was just looking forward to spending Family time together.
"He's going to be shocked. The kids have grown so much since he's been gone and I've grown as an individual - just so independent now," she said. "He's a big Family guy, so he's going to be happy just to be able to see us, hold our hands and hold us."
Also patiently awaiting her husband's arrival was Christa Miller, wife of Capt. Samuel Miller, also with HHC.
To keep herself busy during her husband's 15-month deployment, Christa went back to school full-time at Kansas State University, majoring in social work. The couple has been married for six years and have three children, Sarah, 5, Seth, 3, and Alexandra, 11 months, who have also kept Christa busy. This was her husband's third deployment to Iraq. Christa said she was looking forward to her husband's return and having someone to talk to.
"I miss someone to talk to. He is my best friend and I really miss that," she said. "He's really smart, so I also really miss him for my homework."
While spouses from HHC were busy hanging up signs on the second floor of the barracks, Building 7492, Monica Neypes, FRG leader for Co. A and spouse of Capt. Rubin Neypes, began blowing up red, white and blue balloons to hang with the welcome home signs they created for the 21 single Soldiers in their company.
"Some of them (the Soldiers) won't have anyone here to welcome them home, so it's pretty important," Monica said.
In addition to stocking the first floor rooms with supplies like toilet paper, bottled water, soap and toothbrushes, a mother of one of the Soldiers in the company special ordered Hersey's Kisses which read "thank you" to put on each Soldier's pillow, Monica said.
While most of the spouses said they were just happy their husbands were coming home, having them home in time for Christmas, one many of them spent alone last year, was also reason to celebrate.
"My parents are coming out from Pennsylvania, and we're going to have a real live Christmas tree this year," said Tracy Egbert, spouse of Sgt. Ralph Egbert, a Soldier with Co. A. "We've always had a fake one. He was gone last year for Christmas, so I just really want to celebrate."
Soldiers from both companies began returning to Fort Riley Dec. 8.