By Maria Rice McClure, Fort Campbell Public AffairsApril 30, 2019
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- The 2019 Retiree Appreciation Day will be a little different than in years past.
"For 12 years it was done in the fall, but the garrison commander [Col. Joseph P. Kuchan] wanted to see if we could run it concurrently with Week of the Eagles, so we are giving it a shot," said Theodore Faulkner, Personnel Processing Branch chief, Retirement Services officer and event organizer. "This is the first time this event has been in conjunction with Week of the Eagles."
Retiree Appreciation Day, held this year on May 18 at the Soldier Support Center, 2702 Michigan Ave., is open to retirees from all branches of service and their spouses.
Retiree Appreciation Day begins at 10 a.m., with an 11 a.m. opening ceremony during which Faulkner will provide an update of retiree benefits. The guest speaker will be U.S. Rep. Mark E. Green, who represents Tennessee's seventh congressional district that includes Clarksville. Green is an Army veteran, who previously served in the Tennessee Senate and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November.
"This will be one of his first speaking engagements outside of Washington, so it is a big deal" Faulkner said. "He was the regimental surgeon in the 160th [Special Operations Aviation Regiment] before he got out and went into private practice. It will be nice to have him here, he can relate to Soldiers on their level and that is always a good thing."
Representatives from more than 30 organizations, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, will be on hand to field questions about benefits.
As in years past, staff from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital will host a health fair, but with a few additions. Staff will be available to provide information and schedule appointments to retirees and their spouses who are interested in receiving care. On the spot services will include immunizations, blood pressure checks and blood sugar testing, said Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Fuentes, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Young Eagle Medical Home, Fort Campbell Medical Department Activity.
"And this year we are going to offer a little bit more, we will offer lab services," Fuentes said. "We will be drawing blood for basic bloodwork like the A1C test."
The staff of BACH are challenging themselves to "give more to the retiree community," by offering more services than they have during previous Retiree Appreciation Day health fairs, he said.
"This is our opportunity -- Blanchfield Army Community Hospital -- to build that relationship, get that link, that connection to our retiree community. Our concept is to improve the health of our retiree beneficiaries and, of course, to foster goodwill between the retirees and the BACH staff."
As Soldiers for Life, retirees remain a vital part of the Army Family and Retiree Appreciation Day serves as an opportunity to welcome them back to Fort Campbell.
"We have these events so retirees can come on post and see how Soldiers are living today, see how things have changed," Faulkner said. "It is important to make sure that there is always that link between the active Army and retirees."
May 18 also serves as Week of the Eagles Super Saturday and retirees can enjoy a multitude of activities. Before Retiree Appreciation Day starts hundreds of people will participate in Run for the Fallen that begins at 7:30 a.m. After visiting the Soldier Support Center, retirees can stop by the newly renovated Brig. Gen. Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum, The Sabalauski Air Assault School open house complete with air assault demonstrations, and the Boots in the Ground display in front of division headquarters honoring fallen active duty service members since Sept. 11, 2001. A special Week of the Eagles concert at division parade field closes out the day. The concert features up and coming country music artists Terra Bella, Eric Paslay and headliner Jake Owen. Pre-concert activities start at 5 p.m.
For more information about Retiree Appreciation Day, call the Retirement Services Office at 270-798-5280. For more information about Week of the Eagles, visit https://home.army.mil/campbell/.
Army Reservist Sgt. William Battle, 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, contributed to this report.