Story and photos by Nel Lampe
Retirees filed out of McMahon Auditorium Oct. 16 after listening to briefings by Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, garrison commander; Col. Jimmie Keenan, Evans Army Community Hospital commander; and retired Lt. Gen. Edward Soriano, former Fort Carson commander and president of Mountain Post Historical Center Association.
They headed to the Special Events Center for the remainder of activities associated with Retiree Appreciation Day.
Some retirees had headed directly for the Special Events Center for Retiree Appreciation Day activities, arriving before the 8 a.m. announced start. As retirees gathered outside, doors were opened early and soon dozens of retirees and their spouses were having blood pressures checked, lining up for flu and pneumonia shots and having coffee. Bagels and fruit were also available.
More than 40 information stations and vendors were visited by 1,956 retirees and spouses.
Betty Shields, a retiree who had her blood pressure checked, said she comes every year to RAD.
Edwin Reed, a U.S. Army retiree who lives in Pueblo, and his wife, Linda, had blood samples taken by Kendra Seat, a health technician at the Mountain Post Wellness Center.
“It’s more of a reunion,” said Obel Nazario, a retired command sergeant major. He said he’d seen some of the guys he was stationed with before retiring in 1987.
John Guttenberg from Elizabeth, who retired from Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, attends RAD every year. “I get information here I can’t get anywhere else,” he said. “One year I found out I needed glasses, which have really helped me in my driving. I really like the RAD.”
Capt. Christine Bacsa, Army public health nurse, said medics in the Emergency Room and volunteers from Evans Army Community Hospital were administering flu shots and pneumococcal vaccine. About 30 volunteers assisted 788 retirees and spouses receiving flu shots and another 111 eligible recipients were given the pneumonia shot.
Rebecca Piorkowski and Bridgette Jamison, representatives from Defense Finance Accounting Service in Cleveland, were on hand to assist retirees with pay issues.
Leona Abdullah-Allen, Retirement Services officer, Fort Carson, was pleased with the retiree appreciation event.
“This has been a really nice RAD,” she said. “So many people helped: the Casualty Office, reservists, National Guard and 20 Junior ROTC members from Fountain-Fort Carson High School.”
Abdullah-Allen handed out Army and Air Force Exchange Service gif t certificates and two-$100 gift certificates from American Airlines during the event.
Many retirees visited the Helicopter
War Museum trailer, parked outside the Special Events Center, brought to the RAD courtesy of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association Rocky Mountain Chapter.