A History of RAFINO
Hank Neill provides this recollection of how RAFINO got its start:
My best guess is that RAFINO got its start around 1984 or 1985. I say that because I think Chick Cecchini completed his trip around the USA in 1984. Since the many visits he made during that trip led to him to decide to form a society I suspect it (RAFINO) was formed shortly thereafter. Chick was not one to sit around and do nothing after he got an idea. He once told me that when he and Sjelja returned from that trip he sent a letter to all the folks they visited expressing appreciation for the hospitality received and asking them to send some money ... I think it was $3.00 each ... and he would mail a roster and a newsletter to all who responded. As I remember his story he also asked all he visited on the trip to go through their personal lists of Finance Corps officer friends and send him any names and addresses they could gather from that effort. He then had a roster of many (most?) of the retired FC officers. He wrote a little newsletter and mailed it out as he got news for it. He told me his list grew rapidly but then quickly began to shrink as most on the list were older, i. e., World War II, retirees.
With the numbers in the new RAFINO shrinking, he got the idea to hold a reunion and the first one was held at Fort Ben Harrison in 1988. BG Virgil Richard was in the Finance Center at the time and I was Commandant/Chief of the Corps. When Vigil was contacted concerning this reunion, he asked me to help him develop a program and conduct briefings on the recently formed FC Regiment, the status of the Corps (i. e., strength, training, etc,). The reunion was a two day event held in the auditorium of the Finance Center with a nice evening banquet. It was a great success and the RAFINO officers decided to hold another one in 1990, again at Fort Harrison.
I retired from the Army on 1 July 1989 and shortly thereafter got a call from Chick asking me to meet with him and COL Russ Chapin. When I met with them they told me how the group was losing members due to age and they wanted a younger person to head it up. They told me I was just about the only younger one they knew because of my involvement with the 1988 reunion. I said OK and then they told me my mission was to make the association grow. Well, I ended up as President for six years but did have some success in growing the society as I had been in both MILPERCEN and the schoolhouse which exposed me to almost all of the Corps' officers. I found there was a great deal of interest in developing a strong society. Of course, I tapped Jerry Heard and Russ Dowden to talk it up when they were Commandants and Virgil Richard assisted greatly when he got the idea to hold a retired FC banquet in the DC area. Consequently, we had access to the two largest clusters of retired Finance officers, Indianapolis and Washington.
After the second reunion at Fort Harrison (1990), we held reunions in San Antonio (1992), Orlando (1994) and Nashville (1996). It was during the Orlando Reunion that I was discussing things with Chick Cecchini when told him that our slogan, Keeping the Finance Family Together, was a good one but was concerned that we were missing a large part of or family, i. e., the NCOs. We then proposed to our membership that we take a small amount, $2,000, if I remember correctly, to provide seed money to the Finance NCOs to get an association started for them. I called a few NCOs ... I think SGM John Medley was the first I called ... and they expressed interest. So, with the help of John and few others RAFINCO was formed. Chick got with SGM Dan South who volunteered to be the NCOs admin. guy and soon they were up and running as a society. Their numbers also grew fast as, clearly, many retired NCOs were interested. After early discussions, the opinions of both the officers and the NCOs were that the two societies should be separate but mutually supporting. Later, it was decided to invite RAFINCO to to join us at a RAFINO Reunion but that each association would hold separate business meetings during the reunion. That arrangement continues to this day.
Then, the NCOs proposed that they run one of the reunions which they did for the first time in Tacoma (2010). That reunion was a great success and both societies decided to rotate the hosting of future reunions. I think this is a good arrangement as it eases the burden on any one society.
/S Hank Neill
And, Here is the "Rest of the Story"
Jack Rogan provided this pre-amble to the story of the origination of the RAFINO concept:
Back in the 70's Carl Rotz and I promoted the idea of an organization for retired finance officers which became RAFINO. It was suggested that I get it started after my retirement in June 70, but I could not do so since I began a second career as Wisconsin's State Finance Director. Fortunately, Chick agreed to take the responsibility and did a wonderful job.
|1988||Ft Ben Harrison, IN|
|1990||Ft Ben Harrison, IN|
|1992||San Antonio, TX|
|2012||San Antonio, TX|