ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Col. William J. Schafer, chief of staff, First Army, thanked four Army civilians and seven Soldiers for their service to the nation during a retirement and retreat ceremony held April 24."Our 11 distinguished retirees have performed their duties for a combined total of 307 years and they still look like spring chickens after all that," he said. "Think about that for a moment, 307 years of combined service to our nation. That's longer than the United States has formally existed as a free, democratic nation. Thanks in part to the noble service provided by these 11 men and women we honor today."The Soldiers and civilians honored included:• Shirlene Appleby, director, Equal Employment Opportunity Office, U.S. Army Garrison-Rock Island Arsenal • Charles Cervantes, protocol officer, U.S. Army Garrison-Rock Island Arsenal • Jon Cook, Army Community Service survivor outreach services financial counselor, U.S. Army Garrison-Rock Island Arsenal • George Reger, program manager for Afghanistan maintenance and operational support contract, Army Sustainment CommandAll seven Soldiers served at Army Sustainment Command:• Col. Burl Randolph, Jr., deputy chief of staff for intelligence and security • Maj. Vanessa Rivera-Vazquez, logistics plans and operations officer • Sgt. Maj. Jorge Chavez-Rey, personnel sergeant major • Sgt. 1st Class George Cleusman, mobility division Non-Commissioned Officer • Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hall, senior chaplain assistant • Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Johnson, operations training manager • Staff Sgt. Franko German, materiel management branch NCO, Distribution Management CenterHall spoke on what the Army has provided him and his plans for the future."The Army provided me with many opportunities to further my education and career," he said. "I had the opportunity to visit some exotic places including Johnston Island, which is a small island in the South Pacific that most people have never heard of," he said. "After retiring from the Army, I have aspirations of working in the Department of Defense sector -- that's my heart's desire."Cervantes thanked his family for their support during his career on the Arsenal."I stand here today accepting my retirement certificate and awards and I can't help but think of how blessed I've been. First, to be employed for over 34 years on the Rock Island Arsenal. Second, to serve proudly as a Department of the Army civilian and third, of the people I have worked with and the friendships I've made! I will truly miss them," he said. "But, of all the certificates, medals and accolades I've received over the years, none are more rewarding than having my wife, my children, my grandchildren and my family here today." The Army's retirement and retreat ceremony is a long-standing Army tradition that honors the faithful and selfless service of Soldiers and Department of Army civilians.The quarterly retirement and retreat ceremony is a joint effort hosted by a different major tenant organization on the Rock Island Arsenal.