Showing appreciation for those who served
November 6, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden hosted more than 200 retired service and family members at the annual Army Retiree Appreciation Day Oct. 26.
The event was aimed at honoring the service of veterans by providing them with retiree health care services and beneficial information to better their lifestyles here, organizers said.
"This is one of seven Retirement Appreciation Days that are held throughout U.S. Army Europe annually to bring all the retired service members who want to come and update their records and finances and get health counseling, simple health procedures, and preventive medicine and tests done," said retired Sgt. Maj. Dave Stewart, a member of the Army in Europe Retiree Council and the chief of staff of the Army Retiree Council. "Here in Wiesbaden there are several opportunities to get a lot of those issues taken care of."
USAREUR officials were also present to show their support. Guest speaker Brig. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, Joint Multinational Training Center commander, was joined by other top USAREUR military and civilian officials who took time to speak with retirees and hear their concerns.
"These retirement appreciation days are critically important so that these retirees can first of all get the awareness of the services that we have as well as getting their records updated," said USAREUR Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport. "Plus it is our way of saying thanks, and we appreciate their service to our country."
Almost every seat at the Wiesbaden Community Activity Center was filled to capacity by veterans who ranged from World War II and Korean War veterans to the more recent wartime retirees.
Health care concerns
One of the key issues of veterans was health care. Round table meetings were held during the day to address those concerns.
"I think that the retirees understand limitations that we have in regards to health care for them," said Col. Judith A. Lee, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center commander and keynote speaker. "We do have about 400 retirees enrolled in the Tricare Plus program here in Wiesbaden, and it is unfortunate that we cannot enroll them all, but there is very good health care on the German economy."
Lee went on to say that retirees are not forgotten and described some of the changes coming for retirees to receive medical assistance if needed.
Retirees and their families were given the opportunity to receive flu shots and ophthalmology exams. There were also various information booths, such as medical insurance and veterinarian services, to provide the retirees with useful information.
"I think this is a great event," said retired Staff Sgt. Rual Stancil Jr. "It brings to the table a lot of information for retirees living in Europe, and we also have the opportunity to get a lot of things completed such as benefits, news in the community and things that you can do later on down the road, and this helps others."
"I try to make it every year to this event because I like to keep up with the new information that is going on in Europe and going on outside," said Stancil. "As far as other friends who are disabled and not able to travel, I can return and tell them what is being done and what will happen in the future. I would encourage everybody who is retired and living in Europe for so many years like myself to come out and see what they can do in order to help the community and help themselves."