Fair celebrates 39th year supporting retirees
October 31, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 31, 2013) -- Lyster Army Health Clinic hosted the 39th annual Retiree Health Fair Oct. 25 at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility in honor of Retiree Appreciation Day, educating retirees on numerous health and insurance topics.
Attendees were able to get flu vaccinations along with a host of assessments such as blood pressure and blood sugar. They also had opportunities to talk with representatives from numerous healthcare specialists and gather information pertinent to their current and future needs.
"We want to thank everyone who helped put it on and put out all the extra chairs for our retirees and their Families to rest when they got tired," said Chris Moore, Army retirement services officer, adding that he thinks the fair was well received.
"This was a one-stop-shop for them to gather information and updates on health," he continued. "And it is a good opportunity for them to get out and interact with others, as well as give them a chance to have other tests and evaluations done -- it's pretty close to a miniature exam and it is so convenient for them, which I know many of them appreciated."
The tally of attendees was approximately 580 for the health fair, more than last year, and veterans like Army veteran Milton Lassiter who spent 22 years in the military said that the event was more than helpful.
"I've got heart problems, so I stopped by that table and got nutrition guides for heart health," he said, adding that he and his wife also spent a lot of time at the diabetes tables because she suffers from the disease.
Various types of programs and agencies were available to educate attendees on physical therapy, preventative medicine, primary care, behavioral health, nutrition care, managed care, different types of pharmacies, and dental clinics, along with the changing national healthcare system.
"The Retiree Health Fair is a great event for retirees and their Family members because it gives them a chance to see everything Lyster offers in one room," said Jeffrey Atkins, licensed practical nurse at Lyster and organizer of event. "Soldiers are a part of a brotherhood for years and years, and once they retire they sort of loose that. This day actually gives a little of that back.
"Seeing some of their faces today makes it all worth it," he continued, "The way healthcare is changing in the U.S. now every little bit of information that we can give them matters. Keeping them healthy is very important for them and us."
Thirty-seven off-post agencies participated, including: Wiregrass Veteran Affairs Clinic, Medical Center Enterprise, Extendicare, Digestive Health Specialists, Noland Hospital, Center Drug and Home Health, Eye Center South, ReBath, Military Officers Association of America, Hearing Associates of Dothan, Southeast Alabama Rural Health Associates, Gulf Coast Dermatology, Dale Medical Center and others.
Moore said that the biggest feedback they have had so far is to just keep the fair going because it is more than worth it for those who travel here to attend.
"We find that the post does a great job on this event. It is very helpful," said Lassiter, who was stationed here from 1955-1957. "It enriches our lives and it helps us make better decisions over our lives. I will continue to come back as long as they have it."
Atkins said that Families came from Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Florida, and that veterans from all branches of the military with decades of service attended the event. He said that he even spoke to a few WWII veterans.
The retiree bingo, social hour and dinner at The Landing and Cobra Lounge was also successful with Retired Lt. Gen. Jack Klimp, National Association for Uniformed Services president, speaking on the changes that might be made throughout NAUS and TRICARE, said Moore.
"This was an opportunity for us to give back and say, 'Thank you,' for the things that they have done over the years even though they don't ask for it," said Adkins. "They come from all over because we offer so much over the weekend, and do so much at the fair."