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Honored for a career devoted to serving the Army and an abiding love for community, Connie Shaffery’s farewell luncheon Thursday featured a parade of admirers bearing gifts and kind words.
Her retirement brought accolades from the halls of Congress and the governor’s office while nearly eliciting tears from Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, the post commander, as he paid respects.
“She’s an unbelievable talent on our team,” Freakley said.
After 16 years working at Fort Knox, including the last eight as the chief public affairs officer on post, she is joining her husband in retirement. Frank Shaffery stepped down in January as deputy operations officer for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
Born into the Army life when her father was stationed in Japan, she entered Army public affairs in 1987, working in Philadelphia, Baltimore and the military district of Washington before coming to Fort Knox. After working with the 3rd Recruiting Brigade, she became the U.S. Army Armor Center’s public affairs officer in 2003 and accepted a similar position with the U.S. Army Accessions Command when it became the post’s senior command in 2010.
“She’s been a role model to every one of us,” Freakley said. “Not just her team.”
The general described her as a consummate professional and a “phenomenal, humble servant leader.”
Col. Eric Schwartz, garrison commander, suggested that community leaders within a 100-mile radius know her on a first name basis and associate her with the post.
“You represent everything that’s right about Fort Knox,” Schwartz said.
In recent years, Shaffer has led the post’s communication efforts related to the Army’s base realignment efforts, which changed the mission and solidified the future of Fort Knox.
Representing the community leadership consortium One Knox, Beth Avey thanked Shaffery for “opening so many doors to make this partnership between the post and the community so much stronger.”
For her part, Shaffery focused her remarks on others, heaping praise upon current and previous post leaders, community members and the PAO staff. She described herself as being overwhelmed by the tribute at the Fort Knox Leaders Club.
Ben Sheroan can be reached at (270) 505-1764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.