Fort McCoy News Sept. 23, 2016

RAD event provides one-stop shop for retirees

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Nearly 600 military retirees and Family members attended the 2016 Retiree Appreciation Day (RAD) at Fort McCoy Sept. 9.

The annual event is coordinated by the Fort McCoy Soldier For Life-Retirement Services Office (SFL-RSO) of the Directorate of Human Resources.

"Overall it was very successful," said Retirement Services Officer Mitzi Hinton. "It's a sure way retirees and their Families can get updates on the resources, entitlements, and benefits they have."

Fort McCoy Retirement Services Officer Mitzi Hinton provides a briefing for military retirees and Family members in building 905.
Fort McCoy Retirement Services Officer Mitzi Hinton provides a briefing for military retirees and Family members in building 905.

RAD included a full day filled with a variety of activities.

During the morning session in building 905, a wide array of speakers gave updates during briefings on health care, veterans services, retirement benefits, legislative actions that could affect retirees, a Vietnam Memorial reflection, and more.

Event attendees then were able to grab a buffet lunch on their own at McCoy's Community Center, which had been set up with extra seating. An afternoon benefits fair held at the Wisconsin Military Academy (building 90) rounded out the day.

Ricardo Acevedo, a Navy veteran and the district manager with the Social Security Administration in La Crosse, Wis., participated in the benefits fair to answer any questions attendees had on Social Security.

"(RAD) is a great event because it's a one-stop shop for retirees and Family members to get information they need," Acevedo said. "I also enjoy doing this as it's a way for me, as a fellow vet, to give back."

Retired Army Lt. Col. Charles Isely III of La Crosse attended the 2016 RAD as a member of the Wisconsin Area Military Retiree Council. He was among several council members who provided refreshments for attendees at the briefings in building 905.

"I came out for this event because I know how important it is for retirees," Isely said. "It really is a wonderful event."

Many other activities also took place at the installation for RAD attendees.

The Fort McCoy Commissary held a case-lot sale that offered customers extra savings on bulk items. Fort McCoy's

Commemorative Area and History Center were open for RAD attendees to learn more about the post's 107-year history.

Military retirees and Family members participate in a benefits fair at the Wisconsin Military Academy as part of Retiree Appreciation Day at Fort McCoy.
Military retirees and Family members participate in a benefits fair at the Wisconsin Military Academy as part of Retiree Appreciation Day at Fort McCoy.

Retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Lyle Spring, who was in the Fort McCoy area from his home in Kathleen, Ga., visiting Family and friends, said he appreciated the opportunity to learn more about what military retirees have available to them.

"I'm looking to come to work in this area, and I also wanted to see what Fort McCoy was like," Spring said. "Getting information from this event was very helpful."

Hinton said the SFL-RSO can provide military retirees and Family members with more information and support for pre-retirement and post-retirement services. Pre-retirement services include individual pre-retirement counseling; preparation of the Retired Pay Application, DD Form 2656; Career Status Bonus/REDUX counseling; and active-duty survivor assistance.

SFL-RSO post-retirement services include assistance with retired pay actions; providing TRICARE, Medicare, and Social Security information; referral to the Veterans Administration; obtaining lost service documents; and more.

The date for the 2017 RAD will be set soon. For more information about RAD or the SFL-RSO, call 608-388-3716 or toll free at 800-452-0923.