SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Retirees and spouses convened at the Nehelani to get flu shots, blood pressure checks and current information at the annual Retiree Appreciation Day, held here, Oct. 9.

Sponsored by the Army Retiree Council-Hawaii, RAD features information tables and briefings of interest to retirees and spouses. Briefings provided the latest information concerning retiree health care, the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii and veterans' organizations.

The day started with a speech from retired Lt. Gen. Allen Ono, chairman of the Army Retiree Council-Hawaii, who welcomed attendees. Besides providing useful information, Ono noted, the event also serves as a reunion.

"Look around and you will see others who have served our proud nation for a long time, and now are retirees," he said.

After Ono, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Devaney, who co-chairs the council, presented a tribute to deceased retirees from the past year. A lone bugler played a moving rendition of taps, and then Devaney read 75 names of the deceased, with ranks ranging from specialist to general.

Next, Brig. Gen. Keith Gallagher, commanding general, Pacific Region Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center, urged audience members to designate a primary care manager, whether through Tricare or through private insurance.

"Nineteen thousand, five hundred of you (retirees and spouses) are not enrolled in Tricare Prime/Plus at Tripler," Gallagher said. "It is important to you that you have a primary care manager, whether it's at Tripler, downtown or elsewhere on the island.

"If you have chronic medical problems, it's imperative to get a primary care manager so that he or she can provide you the advice, medicine and education to maintain your health status, or better yet, to improve it," he said.

Citing guidance from the American Academy of Family Physicians, Gallagher said that people older than 50 should get either colorectal screenings or colonoscopies to rule out colon cancer. He recommended that women get regular mammograms and cervical screenings. He also recommended yearly head-to-toe skin-cancer screenings.

"All of these screenings are crucial to the well-being of a person, and I recommend highly that you get these procedures done if you fall into this age category," he said, adding that the screenings are even more urgent for individuals with a family history of these cancers.

"All of you out there look marvelous; each one of you looks healthy," he said. "That's what it's all about - staying healthy and living a great life."

Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, then discussed ongoing and planned improvements within USAG-HI. He was followed by representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Veterans Services and Tripler patient education.

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