By Katie Davis Skelley, Staff writer/Social mediaOctober 30, 2019
Rendering a salute to military retirees is a Redstone Arsenal tradition.
For 48 years, Redstone has held a retiree appreciation event, what today has become the Soldier for Life-Retiree Appreciation Day. Although SFL-RAD was revamped for 2019, its mission remains to recognize the service and sacrifice of military retirees of all branches of service.
"Thank you for your years of dedicated service and continued service," Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Counts told the crowd at Heiser Hall Friday morning.
The day began with a speaker's bureau for the retirees to receive updates on what is new on Redstone, and how it could relate to them. First up on the agenda was Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey Smith who briefed the attendees on what was planned for the future of the installation. Smith touched on the changing amenities on post and told the crowd that the availability of services such as the Aquatics Center and the June M. Hughes Arts & Crafts Center depend on the number of people who use them. "Vote with your feet," Smith told the retirees.
Fox Army Health Center Commander Col. Anthony Meador also provided an update on services at Fox, with the big news being the addition of a dermatologist who sees patients twice a month. Meador recognized that many patients travel long distances to Fox for their health care and are frustrated when they arrive and Fox's system has gone down. He asked for all patients to like Fox's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Fox-Army-Health-Center-260595728505/ and check for updates on their appointment days to minimize inconvenience.
That afternoon, Fox workers were on hand to administer flu shots for the retirees and their spouses. Also scheduled for the afternoon was a health fair and vendor exhibits located in the Community Activity Center. Some lucky retirees also were the winners of gift cards and big-screen TV raffles.
The event capped off a week of special benefits for military retirees, from a sidewalk sale at the Commissary to a tent sale at the Exchange. Retirees also received priority placement at key services throughout the week.
Serving as emcee for SFL-RAD might have been a bit more poignant this year for Counts, with his own retirement from active duty scheduled for next summer. When the 50th SFL-RAD rolls around in 2020, Counts will be in the audience. He took the opportunity to recognize the generations of service members in attendance and their influence in shaping the armed forces today.
"From my generation of Soldiers, thank you."