VICENZA, Italy " It’s been said that people should retire from work and not from life and that’s exactly what Vera Frater will be doing when she leaves her position as secretary to the commanding general of U.S. Army Africa.
Frater will be leaving a legacy of working with eight commanding generals during her 17-year tenure.
“It’s been exciting working for the Army,” Frater said. “Every day is different, so there is a lot of variety. All the people I worked for and with have been so good and kind. It’s really been a blast. I have been very, very fortunate.”
In spite of her job satisfaction over the years, Frater is looking forward to retired life. “I will miss Italy; however, we plan to return frequently. I won’t miss work because I always have so much to do at home. So we will be concentrating on setting up our new home,” she said.
Frater has been married for 41 years to a former active duty Soldier who is also Department of the Army civilian and will retire in the near future as well. They will make their new home in Florida, not far from family.
“We found our dream home last Christmas in Florida and it has a lake view, a pool and our two grandsons are only 45 minutes away,” Frater said.
“USARAF and the Vicenza military community are truly going to miss Vera Frater," said U.S. Army Africa Commander, Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg.
“She has exemplified selfless service as a government employee, having served eight general officers over the past 17 years. Her contributions and vast knowledge have had a profound effect on the many Soldiers, civilians and family members of the Vicenza Military Community over the duration of her distinguished career.
“Adeal Frater, Vera's husband, is no stranger to selfless service while serving 28 years of active duty service, retiring as a Sergeant Major, and 16 years as a government employee with the Directorate of Emergency Services. Collectively, the Fraters have dedicated an incredible 61 years of service to our Nation and Army,” Hogg said.
Friend and former work colleague Lucia Soliman praises Frater’s friendship and work ethic. “Vera is best of the best. I always said I wanted to be like her when I grow up,” Soliman said. “She’s incredible both as a friend and a co-worker. She always goes the extra step.”
Frater and Soliman worked together at Armed Forces Network South on Caserma Ederle. Soliman is the AFN South commander’s secretary.
“She’s a great example of professionalism. You couldn’t ask for a better co-worker,” Soliman said. Originally from Munich, Germany, Frater overcame some challenges in her early life as a young Army spouse. Her biggest challenge was dealing with a change in cultures.
“I’m Bavarian and used to the city life in Munich. I was used to crowds of people socializing in the center of a metropolitan area. When we moved to Colorado, it wasn’t as easy to socialize at first,” Frater said. Venturing into Colorado Springs, Colo., was an eye-opener for her.
“Coming from Munich, I was used to seeing and socializing with people in a big busy city. I didn’t see that in Colorado Springs. So I felt a little isolated. Not really homesick, but isolated,” Frater said. Eventually Frater met and made friends.
“I love Colorado and we developed many friendships with people who have traditional family values like we have in Germany. I really fell in love with the state and the people. We stayed there for nine years,” Frater said.
Frater’s husband Adeal is looking forward to their retirement as well. His pride, love and admiration for his wife is evident.
“I would have been crazy not to marry this awesome lady and any employer who she has worked for will say they would have been crazy not to hire her. She is dedicated to her family, job and is always kind to everyone. After being married and spoiled by her for more than 40 years, I am going to do my best to spoil her to no end during our retirement,” Adeal Frater said.
Prior to coming to work for the Army, Frater worked various jobs in the community where her husband was stationed. Then she took the opportunity to work for the U.S. Army.
“I really started appreciating what my husband did when I started working for the Army,” Frater said. “I finally started to understand what he had been doing for all those years.”
Her plans for retirement include cooking Italian and travel around the U.S. She also offers a little career advice.
“If you start a career in the Army and you follow the Army values, you can’t go wrong. Take advantage of all the training you can and you will grow as a professional,” Frater said.