Military retirees and their spouses can expect a wealth of information, resources, services and special recognition at the annual Fort Lee Retiree Appreciation Day set for Sept. 30, 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., in the Soldier Support Center, building 3400, B Avenue.
“This event is a chance for all retired Soldiers and family members to stay connected to the military and the resources that are offered to and for them,” said Cassandra Rawls, Soldier for Life - Retirement Services chief.
Annual attendance at the RAD ranges between 300-400 individuals, according to Rawls. The conference-style event is dedicated to local area retirees but many come from other places like North Carolina and West Virginia. An estimated 19,000 retired service members receive support from Fort Lee SFL-RS.
Describing the RAD as “an ideal opportunity to receive the latest information on veteran benefits, services and pending policy and legislation,” Rawls said the gathering also has become a “one-stop-shop” for immunizations; blood pressure screenings; identification card renewals; notary, limited tax and legal services; and other assistance programs.
“It’s just a well-rounded day to make sure we take care of our retired Soldiers and let them know we appreciate them,” said Rawls. “We try to add more to the program each year and receive many favorable comments for our efforts.”
The opening program for the event starts at 8:30 a.m. in the SSC auditorium. The featured speaker will be retired Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, co-chair of the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Retired Soldier Council.
Other presenters include Deputy Commissioner Steven Comb, Virginia Department of Veteran Services, and Lt. Col. Paul J. Kassebaum, Kenner Army Health Clinic commander, who will discuss the latest updates on the TRICARE health system and new initiatives being undertaken at Kenner.
Rawls said she encourages retirees to come, even if they can’t get there for the opening ceremony or can only attend for an hour or two. The assortment of information booths – another regular feature of the event – is worth a walkthrough of its own, with staffers offering everything from health and wellness information to tips for using family support and veteran care benefits.
“The overall atmosphere is one of camaraderie and support,” Rawls noted. “Most walk away feeling very good about what I can only describe as being part of the Army family.”
Nothing bad has been said about the event freebies either. They include a free lunch for military retirees and family members, funded by First Command financial services.
“Last year, they did an awesome job, and we thank them again for stepping forward to underwrite the costs for the meal,” said Rawls. The location of the lunch will be announced during the main program in the auditorium.
Representatives of Family and MWR also will be handing out door-prize tickets as guests arrive for the event. Random drawings will take place throughout the morning for gift like Lee Theater performances, free games at the Fort Lee Bowling Alley, discount certificates for the Cardinal Golf Club and more.
For additional information about Retiree Appreciation Day, call (804) 734-6555.