Fort Riley Receives Quality of Life Award

The Army has recognized Fort Riley’s efforts to improve the quality of life for soldiers and families.

According to the Associated Press, during the 2008 Association of the United States Army annual meeting on Oct. 7, the Army presented Fort Riley with the Quality of Life Partnership Award. The honor recognizes Fort Riley’s efforts to reach out to the surrounding communities to address housing, education, health care, employment and recreation issues.

The Army’s work to bolster soldier and family support has included the signing of the Army Family Covenant and Army Community Covenant across the country.

"These two programs reflect the Army’s commitment to provide soldiers and their families with quality of life commensurate with their service to the nation," said Army Secretary Pete Geren, who attended the Fort Riley community covenant signing in August.

The award was one of eight handed out to Army installations. Fort Riley spokeswoman Deb Skidmore said officials were pleased with the recognition, calling it "a major milestone for the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley."

"These conferences have strengthened the community relations interactions between this post and our neighboring communities that support and improve the quality of life for our soldiers and their families," Skidmore said.

To build its relationships, Fort Riley began monthly partnership meetings with local school, government and business leaders. Attendance at the meetings has doubled since February.

More than 15,000 soldiers are assigned to Fort Riley, home of the 1st Infantry Division. The Army plans to increase that to more than 18,000 soldiers in the coming years as it completes the relocation of the division from Germany.

When the changes were announced, Fort Riley officials began holding meetings with state and local leaders to begin planning for how the communities would absorb the additional soldiers and their families. Key issues included housing, education and employment for spouses.

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