By Flavia Hulsey, Fort Riley Public AffairsAugust 12, 2009
Command Sgt. Maj. John McDwyer and his wife MonikAfA! have lived in many different places and in many different homes throughout McDwyer's more than 20-year Army career.
They remember their first on-post housing as small and cramped. And they both agree their new house in Fort Riley's Forsyth Neighborhood is a great improvement.
"I love the house," MonikAfA! said. "I think it's the best on-post housing we will have ever lived in."
The McDwyers received the first house in the new E-9 housing area in the Forsyth Neighborhood Aug. 10 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event highlighted the completion of a series of nine new homes for sergeants major. The couple moved in on Aug. 12.
The more than 2,200-square-foot houses have four bedrooms, two and a half baths and oversized two-car garages.
Each home also features a covered front porch, covered rear patio with fan, pull-down attic storage above the garage, second floor laundry room, formal living and dining room, family room with a gas fireplace and an integrated safe room.
The kitchen has energy-efficient, stainless steel appliances, solid surface kitchen countertops and ceramic floors in the kitchen, foyer and all bathrooms. The master bedroom includes a walk-in closet and soaking tub in the bathroom.
John McDwyer currently is the command sergeant major for 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. Prior to arriving to Fort Riley, the McDwyers were at Fort Carson, Colo., where he served as the brigade operations sergeant major with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
"We just left Fort Carson, which was the first place we had a single-family home," McDwyer said. "Those were nice homes, but they were the first ones ever done, so they were still smaller. We come here (Fort Riley), and we see this, and we can tell they've done their research. They understand how much space we need and storage. It looks like they've pretty much covered all the bases with these quarters."
Space, storage, appliance upgrades and attention to detail were some of the features onlookers at the ribbon cutting admired as they toured the new house.
"It didn't take us long in speaking to military Families, speaking with our government counterparts - our partner - to understand Families are interested in storage; Families want larger closets - really a lot of it is the same type of things that we provide for people off post in the for-sale market," said Brian Beauregard, program director, Picerne Military Housing.
Picerne partnered with Fort Riley as part of the Residential Communities Initiative, an Army-wide military housing privatization program to renovate current and create new housing for Soldiers and Families.
"I think that with the tense op-tempo we see Families having to go through with multiple deployments, that when they deploy and they leave their Families behind, they are comfortable that their Families are living in a home that the spouse is happy with and that, as far as maintenance and all the other issues that go along with having to maintain the home, that is taken care of," Beauregard said. "More importantly, for this population, they are finally getting a home that is commensurate with their length of service, level of service and the level of position and status that they have achieved - the highest possible enlisted rank."
The partnership between Fort Riley and Picerne began in 2006, and over the course of 10 years, Picerne has a goal to create 2,100 homes for Fort Riley Families. To date, about 400 homes have been delivered, providing company-grade and field-grade officer housing, and neighborhoods for enlisted and senior enlisted personnel.
"Our surrounding communities have been challenged with meeting the housing demand, and we had the opportunity to have a professional partnership with Picerne. Time and time again, Picerne has come through for our Soldiers and their Families. They are setting the bar very high when it comes to establishing new communities, establishing new residences for our Families and Soldiers that make sacrifices every day," said 1st Inf. Div. Command Sgt. Maj. James B. Champagne.
A grand opening celebration for the new Forsyth Neighborhood Center will take place Sept. 25.