Fort Riley, Kansas



Retirees celebrated at Fort Riley event

By Kalene Lozick | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | October 27, 2017

     The Fort Riley Retiree Council hosted Retiree Appre­ciation Day at Riley’s Confer­ence Center Oct. 20 to honor all who served in the military.

     “The retiree appreciation day is held every year in Octo­ber,” said retired Col. C. Kay Hutchinson, spokesperson and chairman of the Fort Riley Re­tiree Council.

      Hutchinson, a Fort Riley re­tiree, said the event is to invite retirees back to Fort Riley.

     The event included various speakers and presentations giv­en by Glenn Suetter, a health­care and TRICARE expert; Col. John Melton, commander of the Irwin Army Community Hospital; Robert Smith, direc­tor of Fort Riley Museum Di­vision, and Pam Maxwell, who spoke about long-term health care and others.

      Representatives from the Commissary and Post Exchange attended and there was entertain­ing and informative presentations about the 1st Infantry Division’s 100th anniversary, put on by Dr. Robert Smith said Col. John D. Lawrence, garrison commander. The Military Officers Association of America representative Paul Frost provided a federal legislative update, and the U.S. Army’s ‘re­cruiting for our future.

     The day was to honor the men and women who retired from the military. In his words, Lawrence extended thanks to not only those who served, but also the families who support­ed their Soldier.

      “Fort Riley’s annual retiree appreciation day is an excep­tional event for all of us on post,” Lawrence said. “We truly value what you and your fami­lies have done, and continue to do, for our community. No doubt about it, you all are the pillars on which today’s mili­tary is built. The work you have done during your many years of service lays the foundation for the work being done here today. You are a great example for our Soldiers, and who they should aspire to be to like, and for that we thank you.”

      After opening remarks, Law­rence introduced the “Big Red One’s” newest leader. Brig. Gen. Stephen G. Smith, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley deputy com­manding general for support, who spoke on behalf of Maj. Gen. Joseph M. Martin, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley command­ing general.

      As applause began, Smith stood and took his place at the podium for his remarks to the room of military retirees, mem­bers of the Fort Riley Retiree Council and their families.

      “We definitely walk on the shoulder of giants as active-duty military and we strive ev­ery day to live up to the stan­dards you (military retirees) all set, both as officers and non­commissioned officers,” Smith said. “So thank you for what you’ve done for our country and thank you for what you’ve done for those of us in uni­form. I’m talking to both the retirees, themselves and also to your families and your spouses that are here. So thank you very much.”

      He asked the retirees and family members where they traveled from to attend the event. Most were from Kansas while a few traveled to Fort Ri­ley from surrounding states like Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Missouri. He asked what wars the Soldiers served in. After every raised hand, there was a roar of applause.

      Overall Smith focused his remarks on a joint force per­spective.

      “What I am doing here is to tell you where we are as the Army and as a joint force, kind of what we are facing so there’s no surprise to you,” Smith said. “But I want to do that by tell­ing you how important you still are to the active duty force, so that is my intent by covering this up front.”

      Georgia Rucker, retiree ser­vice officer for the Fort Riley Retiree Council, said by regula­tion all installations must have a Retiree Appreciation Day.

      “It is our way to give back to our retirees and keep the connection going between the active duty community and the retired community,” she said.

      Suetter had information that pertained to the retir­ees about the TRICARE and healthcare connection. He pro­vided information of the vari­ous changes that will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

      Following Suetter was Melton who discussed what resources IACH offers to retirees.

      “With this demographic, there are things we can prob­ably do better and make it more convenient for them (the retirees),” Melton said.

      Melton and his team informed the attendees on how they can still use the facil­ity for their medical needs.

      With each guest speaker, the retirees learned more about the installation’s past, present and future.

      “The retiree appreciation day is Fort Riley’s way of show­ing our appreciation of the sac­rifice and service of the retiree population within not only the Flint Hills area, but in the surrounding states,” Lawrence said. “We normally get a large turnout and we provide differ­ent services for the retirees as well as update them on chang­es that could affect them in the future.”


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