After 3-year hiatus, Retiree Appreciation Day reinforces support network

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Figueroa
  • 88th Air Base Wing

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The 88th Air Base Wing’s Retiree Appreciation Day took place Oct. 28 after three years of not being held due to COVID-19 restrictions.

About 130 people and 40 vendors attended the event at the nearby Hope Hotel & Richard C. Holbrooke Conference Center.

“One of the greatest issues when you leave service is that you feel disconnected from the military and support network that you’re used to,” said retired Senior Master Sgt. David McCoy, a lead organizer and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Retiree Activities Office interim director. “The most important thing is that retirees, their family and survivors feel we’re here to support them.”

He said Retiree Appreciation Day’s purpose is to honor the retirees, their families and surviving dependents. It is also a source of information on different benefits and services available to this community.  

Col. Charles Barkhurst, 88 ABW vice commander, opened the event by thanking the retirees and gave a brief account of the day’s activities.

“Thank you for being here,” he said. “Today is our first time meeting at this event in three years due to COVID. We’re really glad for this in-person event and hope you can get information on the different services and programs we have available.”

The morning session included briefings by representatives from Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the 88th Medical Group, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, and Military Officers Association of America. 

After lunch, the Hope Hotel ballroom opened for all the vendors and booths that provided attendees with information regarding legal services, finance, health care and more.  

“It’s very informative,” said retired Army 1st Sgt. Gertrude Elizabeth Belts. “A lot of retirees don’t know how to get some things done and it gives us the chance to come and talk to other retirees, to see if they’re having (similar) problems. The base makes it so we can contact who we need to contact—finance, VA, TRICARE—because there’s a lot of things that happen to us once we retire.”