Story and photos by Nel Lampe
Retirees and spouses converged on the Special Events Center before Saturday’s 8 a.m. scheduled opening, but doors were already open and tables were manned, so they got an early start. Some retirees had received a flu shot by the time breakfast was served at 8 a.m.
Some 1,200 retirees and spouses attended the event, and 800 of them got a flu shot. The 40-plus tables were kept busy, as were the two large vans designated to shuttle those people needing new identification cards and wills or powers of attorney to the appropriate offices. More than 125 identification cards were issued Saturday, according to Leona Abdullah-Allen, Retirement Services officer.
Lines of retirees were in front of the legal assistance table as well as the Defense Finance and Accounting Service table throughout the day. Almost every table had several people picking up brochures or asking questions. There were short lines for people getting blood pressure or cholesterol checks. The line for inoculations moved quickly, with several shot stations available.
“There is a lot of good information here today,” said Susan Rowley, spouse of an Air Force retiree. “We come to Retiree Appreciation Day each year at Fort Carson, because it’s close to where we live.”
Retirees and spouses enjoyed a continental breakfast prepared by Noncommissioned Officers Association, Chapter 154. Some attendees sipped coffee from paper cups as they perused displays and others settled in at the provided tables and chairs, visiting with acquaintances and friends over coffee, fresh fruit and bagels.
For Richard Pike, RAD was a sort of a homecoming. He and his wife, Martha Pike, recently moved to Colorado Springs.
“I went to basic training at Fort Carson 51 years ago, during July and August,” he said. “I was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division.”
Pike said this RAD was the best he’s attended over the years. “There’s more stuff for veterans here,” he said. “That’s great.”
Abdullah-Allen gave out 10 $25 gift certificates donated by Army and Air Force Exchange Service during the morning event. “The RAD seems to be going real good. People are enjoying it,” she said.
Some 20 Army JROTC cadet volunteers from Fountain-Fort Carson High School were on hand to greet retirees and their spouses, to hand out tickets for door prizes and to sign people up for the retiree newsletter.