Retired Sgt. 1st Class Willie R. Jones and retired Sgt. 1st Class Carroll Bartholomew speak with Staff Sgt. Michael Ponczek, Staff Sgt. Kai Peters and Sgt. 1st Class Shareika Yates during the Fort Lee Retiree Appreciation Day Sept. 24. Ponczek, Peters and Yates are students at the Logistics Noncommissioned Officer Academy's Ordnance Senior Leader Course.

FORT LEE, Va. (Sept. 29, 2011)-Fort Lee flung open the doors of Faughn Hall and welcomed more than 200 retired military members to the annual Retiree Appreciation Day Saturday.

For the second year, retirees enjoyed a "one-stop shopping" opportunity to hear the latest news about retiree benefits, get their flu shots, identification cards, vehicle registrations and other services.

Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee commanding general, welcomed the retirees and their spouses telling them how honored he was to have them at Fort Lee.

"Thank you all for your service," Hodge said. "You remain very valued members of our community. This is a very important day for us because it provides the installation a continued opportunity to foster the camaraderie and good will each of you knew while on active duty. It also provides an opportunity to update you on services and programs available to you."

Hodge told the veterans about the completion of the BRAC 2005 build-up and encouraged them to take a look around the installation and see the changes.

Col. Rodney Edge, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee commander, introduced himself to the retirees and welcomed them to the installation, elaborating more on the changes made installation-wide.

"This post is not the same as it was when I was last here in 1989," Edge said. "I had to ask for directions to places that I thought I knew. Much has changed here at Fort Lee but not the support and services we provide here. Those services will never change. We are here to take care of you."

Edge said RAD is designed with veterans in mind.

"It's an opportunity to renew acquaintances, listen to guest speakers, get news on benefits and entitlements, and take care of important business - like getting new ID Cards and medical checkups," he said. "We're fortunate to have the Soldier Support Center as our base of operations, it will make it easy for you to get everything you need done under one roof."

Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chuck Barnes lives close to Fort Lee and said he finds getting his flu shot at RAD is much easier than visiting the clinic.

"It's easier to come here, and it's a great initiative to show retirees they are appreciated," Barnes said.

Retired Marine Lt. Col. Ismael Ortiz, who is the deputy assistant secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training Services for the Department of Labor, was the guest speaker.

Ortiz entertained the retirees with stories from his 28 years on active duty and shared a few elements of his current work for veterans.

"My job is to take care of young transitioning veterans and retirees like you here today," he said.

Other community leaders, including Kenner Army Health Clinic Commander Col. Joseph S. Pina, shared updates from their organizations.

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Willie R. James, a former member of the Transportation Corps, said he was delighted to see transporters on Fort Lee and that he always attends RAD.

"It's more convenient to get my flu shot here," James said. "But the main reason I come is to see other retirees and listen to how things are going for them."

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Carroll Bartholomew said he enjoys talking with Soldiers about how their careers are compared to his.

"It's good to see how we are doing," he said.

Page last updated Thu September 29th, 2011 at 09:27