By Hannah Kleopfer, Fort Riley Public AffairsJanuary 7, 2016
Sleigh bells were jingling throughout the historic main post on Christmas Eve as the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard gave carriage rides to families on post during the afternoon and evening before the Christmas Eve service at the Main Post Chapel.
"It's a community of faith from the CG down to the kids of the most junior Soldiers," said Chaplain (Maj.) Chris Wallace, Deputy Division Chaplain, who organized the carriage rides and service. "It's a wonderful church service and it's a wonderful community -- a wonderful community of faith to celebrate the holiday together, and just encourage each other, support each other and help each other."
Sgt. Matthew Witcher, 601st Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, is stationed at Fort Riley for the second time in his Army career but was attending the Fort Riley Christmas Eve service for the first time.
"We wanted to come celebrate the birth of Christ and just be with other Christians and other believers to celebrate Christmas," Witcher said.
While the church service would bring together members of Fort Riley, the carriage rides were a chance for those working at Fort Riley to join in the community. Gerry Vergara, a chiropractor working at the Farrelly Health Clinic for the last five years, heard about the carriage rides from a Soldier a few days before and wanted to participate.
"We have partnerships in the community outside, but this is really building a community within," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Peter Johnson, Division Chaplain. "So that's really what we're doing, Fort Riley specifically, building a community of faith."
The service brought in 294 people, with speakers such as Maj. General Wayne Grigsby, commanding general, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, doing the readings.
"Now we can celebrate," Wallace said. "There are dark times, there are bright times in life, but at all times God is with us."