FORT RILEY, Kan. – The 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley held its third Big Red One Year of Family (BYOF) 1st Family Award Recognition Ceremony on Aug. 16, 2022, at the installation’s King Field House fitness center.
The ceremony honored 12 Big Red One affiliated Families for their volunteer efforts and continued support to Soldiers and Families of 1ID and Fort Riley.
As a part of Operation Victory Wellness, the BYOF is a division-led, yearlong campaign focused on building the strength and resilience of Families, educating Families about available resources, and showing appreciation for their support.
“To our Families, your actions are vital to the success of the 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley; we simply cannot accomplish our mission without you,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Niave F. Knell, the 1st Inf. Div. deputy commanding general-support. “The military Family is one of the most critical assets we have in our Army today. We must not forget that military service is shared with them.”
Volunteering on and around Fort Riley has given the recipients an opportunity to give back to the community and build social actions.
“The strength of our division and of our fighting force is only possible due to the tremendous support and sacrifices of our Families,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Major Stephanie Rodriguez, the OVW Family dimension of strength lead. “The Families recognized today embody the tenets of the Big Red One Year of the Family and are pillars of the Fort Riley and supporting communities.”
Each award recipient was selected and nominated by their respective brigade command teams.
The awardees were Alex Stamp and Kate Kaminski, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team; Haley Watters, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team; Sara Bastian and Lorri Winner, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade; Jessica Floberg, Sustainment Brigade; the Ridley Family and Ashleigh Ball, 1st Inf. Div. Artillery; Becky Pottinger and Maria Adriana Castillo, U.S. Army Garrison – Fort Riley; Michael Gilmartin, Irwin Army Community Hospital; and Carolynn Blanco, Dental Health Activity.
“It’s nice to be recognized because this is what being a spouse is about; being that support system and connection to the outside world for your Soldier,” said Desiray Ridley, a 1st Family Award Recognition recipient. “I’m just really appreciative to receive this award. It feels good to feel seen for what you do.”
BYOF seeks to create opportunities to increase Family resiliency while honoring and recognizing the important foundational role our Families play in our organization’s success.
The goal of the campaign is to develop stronger, more resilient 1st Inf. Div. Families and Soldiers, and increase operational readiness to accomplish any mission the Nation calls on the Big Red One to undertake.
U.S. Army recruits from Kansas also attended the ceremony as a part of an installation tour in support of the U.S. Army's 'Meet Your Army' campaign. The recruits met with 1st Inf. Div. Soldiers and spoke with Brig. Gen. Knell about army service and the importance of the military Family.
“I like that the division is working to recognize Families because although we don’t serve, we’re definitely along for the ride,” said Ridley. “I’m glad that there are more Family-geared events on post and that Families are continuing to get more involved.”