Fort LEE, Va. (Oct. 5, 2017) -- Military members, retirees and their families attended the installation's Retiree Appreciation Day Saturday to learn more about their benefits and organizations available to them.

Kenner Army Health Clinic staff members also were available to provide information about health services, blood pressure screenings and flu vaccinations.

During the event's opening program, Col. Adam Butler, garrison commander, welcomed the retirees and said he hoped the event would be beneficial for them.

"Your presence today demonstrates how our connection to service is never really over," he said. "I look forward to joining your ranks and that's partly because of the level of service I know I'll receive from the group of personnel here or anywhere in the world at the various Soldier Support Centers.

"We planned today's activities with you in mind," Butler continued. "It's a time to renew acquaintances, listen to guest speakers get news on entitlements and benefits, and take an opportunity to take care of business, like getting a new ID card or basic medical services."

Maj. Gen. Paul C. Hurley Jr., CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, also took time to thank the retirees in attendance.

"My wife Cathy and I are thrilled to spend time with you today," he said. "You are so very important to us."

The guest speaker was retired Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, the Chief of Staff Co-Chair of the Army Retired Soldier Council. He spoke about the importance of preserving rights for retirees.

"Only one percent of the population ends up serving," he said. "You can see that our voice is becoming less loud, but people still respect what we do, our service and the fact that we run toward the sound of the guns. You can see the concerns about what's happening with our benefits and the increasing costs. When we talk to the Army Chief of Staff each year, we talk to him about our entitlements. We don't want them to cut our entitlements just because we were in uniform. Not only did we earn them, but we served for them.

Retired Col. Glenwood Hence -- who retired four years ago -- attended the event for the first time since his retirement.

"I enjoyed listening to the guest speaker, and I appreciate there are people still advocating for us and our benefits," he said. "Even though we are out of the service, it still feels good that there are people who care."

Retired Lt. Col. Paula Davis Bonner retired several years ago and was attending the appreciation day for the first time as well.

"It's full of information," she said. "It's good seeing a large group of retirees and all the services provided to them. I came today because I wanted to learn about any changes of benefits for retirees and to keep abreast of anything involving retirees."