Presidio of Monterey Retired Soldiers Council reaches out to retiree community
Col. Varman Chhoeung, left, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey, and Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Traylor, senior enlisted advisor of USAG PoM, meet with members of the PoM Retired Soldiers Council during an informal lunch at the Chay Dining Facility, PoM, Calif., Feb. 3. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2022) – Military retirees in the Monterey area have a standing invitation to lunch with the Presidio of Monterey Retired Soldiers Council.

Col. Varman Chhoeung, commander of USAG PoM, and Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Traylor, USAG PoM senior enlisted advisor, met with council members at the Chay Dining Facility Feb. 3 in the first of a series of planned lunches on and off post.

The idea is to provide more outreach and services to retirees in the Monterey area and improve their well-being, Chhoeung said. The informal lunch provided retirees the opportunity to socialize and get to know one another, which is exactly what they did.

E.J. Martin, USAG PoM retirement services officer, said the council has 10 members, not counting the USAG PoM command team, and the lunches are a good idea because they give retirees an opportunity to meet one another in an informal environment.

“The retirees in the community like to sit and talk and not talk about business all the time,” Martin said.

Retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Louise Goetzelt, council treasurer, said the council acts as a two-way conduit between the retiree community and the Army.

The council allows the retiree community to inform the garrison and Army Chief of Staff’s Retiree Council about their needs, such as email, health care and family member identification cards, Goetzelt said.

Conversely, it allows the garrison and Army Chief of Staff’s Retiree Council to pass on information to retirees, said Goetzelt, who is also a member of the Army Chief of Staff’s Retiree Council.

The council welcomes all retirees in the Monterey area, regardless of service branch, Goetzelt said.

“We try to represent all the retirees in the area because this area is just such a conglomerate of different services,” Goetzelt said. “We try to serve everybody even though it’s an Army council.”

One of the council’s responsibilities is to help organize the garrison’s annual retiree appreciation day, Goetzelt said. Army regulation requires garrisons to hold retiree appreciation days at least once a year.

In the past, the council was instrumental in establishing the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery and the Maj. Gen. William H. Gourley Veterans Administration-Department of Defense Outpatient Clinic, Goetzelt said.

Most recently, retirees have expressed an interest in supporting the establishment of a state veterans’ home in the Monterey area, Goetzelt said.

Those who attended the Feb. 3 lunch included Goetzelt, Kent Burns, director of human resources for USAG PoM, retired Col. Tom Ellzey, former garrison commander of Fort Ord, and Jerry Buchanan, widow of John Buchanan, a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

Chhoeung said Army regulations require that the garrison have a retiree council that holds a formal meeting once a quarter, but he asked staff members to increase the number of events so retirees would become more involved with the council and one another.

Traylor said that the council usually holds its formal meeting the last month of the quarter, and with the two lunches a quarter, the council will hold events monthly. They plan to hold the next lunch in April.

“We’re trying to get more involvement throughout the community and more participation so we can take [the council] to higher levels,” Traylor said.

For more information on the council and future lunches, contact Martin at (831) 242-4986 or edward.j.martin.civ@army.mil.

For more information about USAG PoM retirement services, visit https://home.army.mil/monterey/index.php/about/garrison-directorates/human-resources/retirement-services-office.