Eight soldiers and two Department of the Army civilians were retired Sept. 27 in an official ceremony held at Club Stewart. Two of those newly retired soldiers said they’re not going anywhere. They’re already home.
“We want to stay here ... ,” said Chief Warrant Officer-five Leonel Toribio, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot who is retiring after 26 years in the Army. “This is our home now. I expect I’ll probably get a contract job as a helicopter pilot.”
Toribio’s wife, Maj. Christy Toribio, an adjutant general officer assigned with the Warrior Transition Battalion, will retire Oct. 31 with 20 years and five months of service behind her. She supports her husband’s assertion that Coastal Georgia is their home now, even though he hails from New York, and she originally is from California.
“We love it here,” she said. “We fell in love with the area and the people when we first met here in 1993.”
The Toribios have four children: Egan, 13; Justin, 9; Elena, 6; and Jackson, 4.
Sgt. 1st Class Rob Delaney and his wife Ellie are just as adamant about Coastal Georgia being their home, although they originally hale from Ansonia, Conn. The Delaneys, who have been married for 19 years, have been stationed at Fort Stewart for 10 years.
“It’s rare to be stationed in one place that long,” admitted Delaney, who began his Army career as a vehicle mechanic in November 1990. “But then, I’ve been deployed three times since I came here. Even though I’ve been working as a career counselor, I’m going to look for work in my secondary (military occupational specialty).”
“He wants out from behind a desk,” his wife said with a laugh. “We own a home here in Hinesville, and we have two kids in school here. Rob likes it here because of the weather, but I like it because of all the kids’ sports programs. Our son has been playing soccer since he was 3, and now he’s 11. Our daughter plays high-school soccer and softball here.”
Delaney admitted he laughed at himself when he realized he — a Connecticut Yankee — was using words like “y’all.” The weather suits him, he said, and he apparently speaks the language.
The Delaneys’ children, Nathan, 11, and Jordan, 14, skipped school Thursday o watch and participate in their father’s retirement ceremony. The Toribios’ children were also there to see their dad retire, and they will be there next month for their mother’s ceremony.
The Toribios and Delaneys admit they also like the idea of retiring in a military community where they can make the most of their military-retirement benefits, including military pharmacies, post exchange, commissary and recreational facilities.
Most of all, they said, they recognize the investment they and their children have made in cultivating friendships.