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K-State Today

March 12, 2013

K-State Fort Riley Partnership Fund supports soldiers, students

Submitted by Hayli Morrison

Candi Allison was unsure what to think of her husband, Brett, on their blind date 27 years ago.

“He did something people in Chicago never do. He took me to a rodeo!” she said. “But it all worked out.”

Though a Chicago native, Brett Allison has always been an outdoorsman who loves to hunt and camp. He also enjoys U.S. military history, so it came as little surprise that the Allisons responded to a recent funding crisis for the Fort Riley Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard.

Through their newly established K-State-Fort Riley Partnership Fund, the couple provided uniforms, training and supplies for the soldiers and horses.

“It’s just a long tradition,” Candi Allison said of the Color Guard, which maintains 20 horses in a 19th century limestone stable at Fort Riley. “Since the soldiers defend our right to freedom, it should be a reciprocal relationship. It is nice to be able to help out.”

Soldiers in period costume often appear publicly with the horses in ceremonial tribute to cavalry history – which includes names like Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson, both cavalrymen at Fort Riley before achieving sports fame.

“I’m sure the government looks at funding things that are essential, but when you lose a piece of history, it’s very sad,” Candi Allison said.

The Allisons moved to Manhattan with children Kelsey and Connor 15 years ago so Brett Allison could manage the Quaker Oats plant, which is now Continental Mills. Brett Allison also opened Mudd Dogg Pond Cleaning and Excavation as a side business while Candi Allison continued her career until retirement with Commerce Bank. Together the couple has embraced philanthropy in the community.  

Brett Allison serves on the Fort Riley USO Board and the Allisons generously support the K-State Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. They’ve funded a rock-climbing wall at Fort Riley, Cross Fit gyms at K-State and Fort Riley and scholarships for K-State and Missouri ROTC students.

“We heard about a couple ROTC students working night jobs to pay for college and decided if these kids would be leading soldiers into battle, we’d just as soon have those kids pay attention and learn rather than falling asleep in class,” Brett Allison said.

Whether it’s military tradition, physical fitness or academic excellence, the Allisons hope the K-State-Fort Riley Partnership Fund continues, through community support, to make a lasting impact on military students and families.