PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - The U.S. Open at nearby Pebble Beach could not prevent the attendance of over 500 to Retiree Appreciation Day at the General Stilwell Community Center on Ord Military Community June 19.

The annual community outreach event was sponsored by the Fort Ord Area Retiree Council and the Presidio of Monterey Garrison to update and inform attendees on the subject of retirement.

Fernando Casao, Presidio of Monterey retirement services officer, said there were 41 exhibitors for retirees and their families, soon-to-be retirees and widows.

"The RAD is a way to connect with the (California and Nevada retirement communities) on retirement benefits and improved services such as health care (and) Social Security," said Casao.

Casao said he also augments the Presidio of Monterey retirement services program by mailing newsletters that accompany the Department of the Army Retiree Newsletter, "Army Echoes," with the California and Nevada area newsletter, "The Advisor."

"We want to bond with heroes of the past generations, the legacy from past military services," Casao said, explaining the goal is to "bring the installation to them and thank them."

Casao said the retirement services program is something that is very important to him, not only professionally, but personally, as he also is a retired service member. Additionally, his current job, he said, is his second favorite job -- his first being the one he retired from as an Army combat engineer sergeant major.

"Do I owe (retirees) the time and resources'" Casao asked. "Yes, they are all important, and if I am not an expert on the benefits and information that they need, I can point them in the right direction to get the information they need."

Speakers at the event included California Representative Sam Farr; Presidio of Monterey Garrison Commander Col. Darcy A. Brewer; Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Heath Care System representative Kerri Childress; California Assemblyman William W. Monning; Deputy Secretary of California Department of Veterans Affairs Ted Puntillo; Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of TriWest Heath Care Alliance retired Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth L. Farmer Jr.; Fort Ord Area Retiree Council Chairman retired Marine Lt. Col. Richard Novak; and Assistant Director of the Association of the United States Army Retiree and Veterans Affairs retired Army Sgt. Maj. Leroy A. Bussels.