Retiree Appreciation Day celebrates five decades of service

  • Published
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

Team Offutt is scheduled to host its 50th annual Retiree Appreciation Day Oct. 19, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Offutt Exchange.

This annual event will offer a variety of free services to retirees, spouses, widows and widowers from more than 20 on-base organizations.

The event is sponsored by the Offutt Retiree Activities Office which serves military retirees and their families. More than 30,000 invites have been sent to retirees throughout Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. A variety of organizations will be in attendance to provide resources and services for retirees and their families.

The organizations represented include, but are not limited to:

  • Gold Star Wives of America
  • American Legion
  • Military Officers Association of America
  • Fleet Reserve Association
  • Sarpy County Veterans Survivor/Casualty Benefits
  • Guitars for Vets
  • Health Net Federal Services
  • Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging
  • National Cemetery Administration
  • Veterans Benefits Administration
  • Veterans  Program Coordinator
  • Offutt Military Personnel Flight (Shuttle provided)
  • Offutt Legal Office (Shuttle provided)
  • Omaha National Cemetery
  • 55th Force Support Squadron
  • Women Veterans Coordinator
  • Veterans Casualty Assistant Coordinator
  • Air Force Sergeants Association
  • Disabled American Veterans Chapter #47
  • Fleet Reserve Association
  • 55th Medical Group
    • Dental
    • Public Health
    • Pharmacy
    • Red Cross
    • Health Promotions
    • Physical Therapy
    • Immunizations
    • Health Net
    • Medic Support
    • VA

Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Brian Thomas, 55th Wing command chief, will start the event with remarks during a ceremony that is scheduled to include an invocation, presentation of the colors and playing of the National Anthem.

“Honoring veterans is incredibly important to Chief Thomas and I,” Marks said. “We stand on the shoulders of veterans who went before us. They are the reason our Air Force is the greatest in history – we wouldn’t be here if not for them.”

Thomas echoed those remarks.

“The area surrounding Offutt has approximately 30,000 retirees, and the annual Retiree Appreciation Day is a perfect time to embrace veterans and show them our support,” he said. “I want to make sure we never forget to take care of our retirees. It is the least we can do for those who dedicated their lives to our great nation.”

Shuttle buses will be available to transport retirees to the I.D. card office, located in building 49, as well as the base legal and finance offices. Event organizers suggest utilizing the courtesy transportation as parking is limited at some of the facilities. It is also because construction may impede access or units may have moved due to flood damage.

The public affairs office will offer two base tours for Retiree Appreciation Day, the first one at 10 a.m. and the last one at noon. Seating will be limited, so make sure to sign up at the public affairs table.

The 55th Medical Group will not be able to provide flu shots for retirees this year. There are other locations that retirees can visit at their convenience to receive their flu shot. Here is a list of local providers that are TRICARE Network Partners where retirees can go to get their flu shots:

  • Walgreens
  • HyVee
  • RelyCare Pharmacy
  • Kohll’s Pharmacy & Homecare
  • Bakers Drugs
  • Nebraska Medicine Bellevue
  • CHI Health
  • Sam’s Club

The event this year will have Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) Robert E. Green, Air Force Retiree Council Region Five representative, as a guest speaker. Senior Master Sgt. Green retired from the U.S. Air Force with 28 years of service.

“Every year we reach out to our retiree community in the hopes that they realize how important they are to us,” said Senior Master Sgt. Lauralee Okoniewski, 55th Force Support Squadron Sustainment Services Flight superintendent and event organizer. “The Retiree Appreciation Day is not just a ‘thank you’ to the retiree community but also serves as a reminder to those currently serving that we need to value those who came before us.

That is the purpose of the Retiree Appreciation Day and the Retiree Activity Office that is now celebrating 50 years of service to our retirees.”

The Offutt RAO serves as liaison between base functions and military retirees living in the greater-Omaha area. For additional information, contact the RAO at (402) 294-4566.