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U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — Retiree Appreciation Day was held at the Hale Ikena, here, Saturday.
The event offered retirees the opportunity to get the latest information about the Army, get vaccinated, receive medical checkups and mingle with other Army retirees on the island.
The U.S. Army Retiree Council in Hawaii organized the event.
“This group is so special because we are talking about people who served the U.S. Army for (more than) 20 years and spent their careers defending our nation,” said Retired Lt. Gen. Allen Ono, chairman, U.S. Army Retiree Council, who was the master of ceremony for the day’s events. “Our blood is red, white and blue, and that is what makes this day special.”
Six guest speakers updated retirees on various organizations and topics.
Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, led the opening remarks for the event with an update on the command and the Army as a whole.
Wiercinski said it is important for retirees to be informed and for them to know that the Army still holds them in the highest regard.
“There is so much misinformation out there,” he said. “You are those who have fought for our nation in times past, and you can still fight for our nation by being our voice. You left (the Army) in a good state, and (we want you to know that) we are ensuring that it stays in a good state.
“In the 32 years that I have served, I am now serving in the best military that I have ever been in, and that is because of the people who serve and have served in it,” Wiercinski added.
Following Wiercinski, Brigitte Jamison, Defense Finance and Accounting Services representative, tackled her agenda. Her main focus was to remind retirees to keep their information up to date.
“The average retiree’s age is 70 years old, and DFAS currently services 2.1 million retirees nationwide,” Jamison said.
Jamison said the high number of retirees is part of the reason DFAS is trying to go green and push its self-service features on the MyPay website.
Another update during the day’s events came from the Hale Koa Hotel.
Richard LeBreun, general manager, Hale Koa Hotel, said it is important to update retirees on the state of the hotel, because it is their hotel.
“The Hale Koa is one of the Armed Forces Recreation Center resorts, which are resorts run at no expense to the taxpayers,” he explained. “(Retirees) and everyone else who have patronized our AFRCs own them. You, literally, are the shareholders of the hotel.”
To make themselves more retiree and senior-friendly, the Hale Koa is now offering senior rates, retiree specials and special kamaaina, or local resident, rates.
The following organizations provided updates at Retiree Appreciation Day: USARPAC, DFAS, the Fisher House, the Hawaii Army National Guard and the Hale Koa Hotel. To end the program, a member of the retiree council demonstrated new CPR life-saving techniques.
The event was followed by a buffet luncheon.