By Erin Murray, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 20, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 20, 2011) -- The 37th annual Fort Rucker Retiree Appreciation Day will be held Oct. 28, with multiple Fort Rucker organizations hosting events to acknowledge the contributions made by retired servicemembers.
"Retiree day is in recognition of their past service and for what they continue to do now. We have to take care of our retiree population, because they have a large impact on Fort Rucker as volunteers. Their ability to help out around the installation fills a lot of empty spaces," said Chris Moore, retirement services officer.
The day of recognition begins with a health and information fair at The Landing from 8 a.m. to noon, hosted by Lyster Army Health Clinic and the Fort Rucker Retirement Services Office. The fair draws more than 500 retirees from states across the southeast, said Moore. While visiting more than 52 vendors and information booths, retirees can receive flu and pneumonia vaccines during the fair. Fort Rucker organizations including Army Community Services, Army Substance Abuse Program and Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation will also be on site to provide information. Visitors can attend classes on topics like nutrition and aging, depression, tobacco cessation and exercise as well as receive screenings that can help prevent illness, said Denece Clayborn, Lyster Army Health Clinic community health nurse and program organizer.
"We want retirees to stay healthy and prevent disease to get wellness information and learn how to take better care of their health. It's a wonderful opportunity for the large retiree population. We want to make sure that they know we are here for them and that we appreciate the service they have given," she said.
Retiree appreciation events will continue after the health fair with the quarterly retirement ceremony at 2:30 p.m. at the United States Army Aviation Museum and a social for retirees at the Landing at 4:30 p.m. Moore said that both these events recognize retired Soldiers old and new, and give them a chance to "trade war stories, renew old friendships or make new acquaintances."
Retired Soldiers can attend a German-style buffet at 5:30 p.m. at The Landing, followed by an address from Rear Admiral W. Clyde Marsh, Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs commissioner. The address will be an update on military benefits, said Moore. He explained that the information provided will benefit both long-time and newly retired Soldiers.
"There's a constant change in the retiree population. We want to make sure they're aware of the opportunities and facilities that are available to them. The biggest concern right now is on benefits because the Army has to reduce costs. There is nothing better that [retirees] can do than make sure they know what's happening and how changes will impact them," he said.
Moore explained that the Fort Rucker Retirement Services Office provides assistance to more than 32,000 retirees from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Retiree Appreciation Day brings people from around the area to Fort Rucker and the surrounding community, with many retirees returning every year for the events.
"The footprint that Fort Rucker is responsible for reaches beyond the Wiregrass area. I see the same people returning every year. It speaks highly of the services this installation provides. Retirees recognize and appreciate Fort Rucker almost as much as we appreciate them," he said.
For information on Retiree Day and to pre-register for events, call 255-9124.