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SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Ferriters know what it means to be “Army strong.”
They grew up on military bases, lived on military bases and raised their families on military bases.
Margie Ferriter, wife of Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, commander, Installation Management Command, visited various U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii installations and organizations during her visit to Hawaii, March 19-21.
Her itinerary allowed her to discuss issues and policies currently in place, at each location, as the welfare of Army families is a top priority for her and her husband.
“We wanted to reassure Soldiers and families out here in the Pacific that Army leadership cares about them and that we are committed to taking care of them,” she said. “Times are tough, but we will get through them as long as we stick together.”
Ferriter spoke with senior spouses during an office call and lunch at the Nehelani, here, Monday. She candidly discussed their concerns about how new fiscal realities will affect military communities in Hawaii.
She received briefings at Army Community Service, where she learned how programs like Blue Star Card and Family Advocacy are ensuring world-class customer service — despite funding and personnel shortfalls; at Island Palm Communities, where she toured the Kalakaua Community Center and a home; and at Grant Hall in the Soldier Family Assistance Center, where she met with Soldiers who are on the road back to the fight. Ferriter also talked to others who have transitioned out of the Army and started their own business as a result of the SFAC’s Small Business program.
Briefers at the newly renovated Teen Center highlighted the center’s remodel.
Rounding out Monday’s schedule, the School Liaison Office briefed Ferriter on the challenges Army families face in terms of education. The SLO also explained what is being done to level the playing field in Hawaii.
At Fort Shafter’s Survivor Outreach Services Center, on her second day, Ferriter met with families who have lost loved ones. Despite having lost her husband nine years ago, Brandi Williams said the wounds are still fresh.
“Having a place like the SOS Center to come to has helped me and my daughters cope with our loss,” Williams said.
Later Tuesday, family readiness group leaders and family readiness support assistants gave updates about Hawaii issues.
Ferriter ended the day with a tour through the Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center. The Fisher House provides free or low-cost lodging to veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers.
Ferriter said she has always been and will continue to be a “listening post” as she supports her husband in his new role as IMCOM commander.
“He can talk about policy, but I can listen and relate to the experience of raising children in the military and other concerns our family members may have,” she said.
Ferriter’s empathy comes from more than 30 years of experience.
She is an Army wife and an Army mom of Dr. Meghan Ferriter, Capt. Dan Ferriter, Capt. Paddy Ferriter and 1st Lt. Mary Whitney Whittaker.