Fort Riley opens new neighborhood center after Medal of Honor recipients
July 25, 2011
FORT RILEY, Kan. " Members of the Warner Family and two Families of the Warner and Peterson Heights neighborhoods were joined by Maj. Gen. William Mayville, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commanding general, and his wife, Shand, to cut a ribbon signifying the official opening of the third of four Picerne Military Housing neighborhood centers June 28.
The center was named after two World War II Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, Cpl. Henry “Lowe” Warner and Staff Sgt. George Peterson. Members of the Warner Family traveled from Troy, N. C., to attend.
“It is through memorializing … that we demonstrate that we never forget,” said Brian Beauregard, Picerne Military Housing program director, during the opening remarks.
Afterward, Lowe’s niece, Patty Decker, spoke on behalf of her uncle and their Family. Decker described her uncle as “such a quiet country boy” who loved to fish.
“Lowe would have been overwhelmed,” she said of the honor of having the neighborhood center named after him.
Coming from a “very poor” Family, Lowe would be given two bullets with which to attain something for dinner, Decker said. Lowe would be told not to return without food, and “he never disappointed,” she said.
Lowe was known for his marksmanship, his nephew, Joe Warner, later said. His bravery and his marksmanship are how the young man, barely 21, earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.
According to the citation, Lowe took out several tanks as an anti-tank gunner, before being mortally wounded in a two-day battle in Belgium.
Lowe also was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Belgium Leopold Cross with palm and French Croix de Guerre with palm, according to Decker.
On the naming of the center and being invited to Kansas, Decker said the Family was “just delighted.”
“We have much, much more admiration for the military and what they do. We saw how hard they work,” said Decker of the Family’s stay at Fort Riley. “This was beyond our expectations.”
Mayville thanked Decker, calling her a “great storyteller” and connecting the letters that Decker spoke of " letters that Lowe sent home telling his Family not to worry " to the mission of the Family neighborhood center.
“Because of (the neighborhood center), our Soldiers and our leaders aren’t distracted,” Mayville said, adding they know their Families are being cared for.
Following the addresses of Beauregard, Decker and Mayville, a ribbon was cut, a jazz band played, food stations were open, grilling began and the pool opened.
The 8,200-square-foot facility boasts a club room, media room, laundry facility, meeting space with a kitchen, fitness room and neighborhood offices, in addition to a swimming pool.
The Warner Family was invited because the 1st Division Foundation and Picerne wanted to “put a personal side " names and faces” to the event, Decker said.
Beauregard said Peterson’s Family could not be located. Peterson was from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Peterson single-handedly destroyed three machine gun nests in Germany before being mortally wounded, according to his Medal of Honor citation. Peterson also received two Bronze Stars and four Purple Hearts.
The neighborhood center is located at 5570 A.P. Hill.
The neighborhood center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with limited access on Sundays. Neighborhood residents may obtain a key to gain access until 10 p.m.
Pool hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays, weather permitting. Hours will be posted as they are revised seasonally.