Fort Riley staff, leaders cut ribbon to new transitioning program office

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LEFT TO RIGHT: John Verschage, scout for USO Rally Point 6 at Fort Riley; Col. John D. Lawrence, Fort Riley garrison commander; Fred Jeter, regional director for the central U.S. from USO headquarters; Crystal Bryant-Kearns, site manager for RP/6 at Fort Riley; Command Sgt. Maj. James Collins, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley and Brig. Gen. Patrick D. Frank, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley acting senior commander, cut the ribbon during a ceremony Nov. 9 at 212 Custer Ave. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was in honor of the RP/6 program staff moving into their permanent location.

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A welcome sign sits right inside the door of the newly renovated office space for the USO Fort Riley program Rally Point 6. The staff of RP/6 along with members of the Fort Riley community conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the space Nov. 9 at 212 Custer Ave.

A red, white and blue ribbon tied between two poles sat in front of three flags as members of the Fort Riley community assembled Nov. 9 outside the new location of the USO Fort Riley program, Rally Point 6, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially recognize the organization’s newly renovated office space at 212 Custer Ave.

Rally Point 6 engages and develops relationships with public and private partners within the military and veteran service provided ecosystem to provide access to resources and services while a service member is transitioning to civilian life.

For the military, a Rally Point represents a physical place where people can reassemble and reorganize to prepare for actions at an objective. The “6” is a term understood as “I’ve got your back.” It also represents a leader’s call sign and in the instance of this program, it represents the service or family member leading their personal transition.

Crystal Bryant-Kearns, site manager for USO RP/6, is one of the three staff members who work with Soldiers of Fort Riley during their transition. She welcomed the Fort Riley community to the ceremony.

“For 75 years, the USO has connected Soldiers to family, home and country beginning with their first day of service,” she said. “As with all change, there comes growth, just as we have experienced here at the USO. We now serve Soldiers not only during their time of service, but also as they transition from their military career to civilian life.”

USO Fort Riley’s location of RP/6 is one of 10 locations across the country serving service members and their families. The program is part of the USO 360 Transition Alliance, which consists of four different programs that support military families. Rally Point 6 provides personalized sessions to assist families in whatever they may need during the transition process.

“This personalized approach incorporates all four of USO Transition 360 Alliance partners — Hire Heroes USA, Stronger Families and the Comfort Crew for military kids along with RP/6,” Bryant-Kearns said. “This is an attempt to cover both the personal and professional issues that military families face when moving to the civilian world.”

Staff of RP/6 began helping Fort Riley Soldiers and families in July. Since then, they have helped more than 100 clients reaching across 13 different states.

“Even though they are no longer at Fort Riley, we are still by their side,” she said. “It has been a great pleasure to witness this program in action. Veterans and transitioning military can reach out to the RP6 team and find that scout who will point them in the right direction of the resources they need from housing issues to employment, school and even family issues.”

Brig. Gen. Patrick D. Frank, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley acting senior commander, also spoke at the ceremony. He said Soldiers are generally concerned about transitioning themselves and their family to civilian life after the Army, but RP/6 puts those fears to rest.

“Talking in Soldier’s language about transitioning to civilian life is exactly what this team does so well,” he said. “It’s why Soldiers who have transitioned successfully have come up to me and said ‘Hey sir, I really appreciate what the USO and RP/6 team has done for me and my family in the transition process. They made it easy. They allowed me to understand that I could get over some of my fears I had about transitioning from military life.’”

Col. John D. Lawrence, Fort Riley garrison commander, spoke at the ceremony and echoed Frank and Bryant-Kearns remarks. Rally Point 6 has an enormous amount of partners that will help service members with a variety of issues including the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program at Fort Riley, large and small corporations and non-profit organizations.

“Partners both on and off post both locally and nation¬ally support RP/6’s eight pillars of employment, education, benefits and resources, family programs, housing, wellness, financial and legal,” he said.

Lawrence also said RP/6 is not the only program within the USO 360 Transition Alliance that has been seen by Fort Riley Soldiers and families.

“Fort Riley and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation have partnered for several years with the Comfort Crew for Military Families, a USO partner responsible for bringing the military children themed ‘Sesame Street’ to Fort Riley, and now we get to continue that partnership stronger and better with RP6,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said RP/6 is strategically located in the same building as the SFLTAP and human resources so Soldiers who are transitioning from military to civilian life have resources available to them in one convenient location.

“We have that campus right here to help our Soldiers and make it easy to get the assistance they need,” he said.

For more information about the program or becoming a community partner, call 785-492-5531 or 785-492- 5710. Those who are transitioning and want to participate can visit www.rp6.org/register.

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