Maxwell to honor military retirees

by Rebecca Burylo
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

11/15/2013 - Maxwell Air Force Base, Al  -- Though Maxwell takes care of military retirees every day, once a year, the installation sets aside a single day to singularly recognize and honor veterans' service for their country.

This year, Maxwell's Military Retiree Appreciation Day will be held from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Nov. 22 inside the Maxwell Event Center.

Captain Aaron Jackson, deputy staff judge advocate of the 42nd Air Base Wing legal office, and 35 other volunteers have been working hard to make this year's event special.

"It is important to have these extra days where we do take time to focus independently on the people who have served," Jackson said. "We've put so much energy, so much effort into making sure this year's event does exactly that."

Jackson expects anywhere from 500-1,000 retirees to come to the event from around the Southeast. Awaiting their arrival will be influential speakers, flu shots, blood pressure machines, social activities, a grilled lunch and information on retirement, legal services, estates and health care.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Clyde Marsh, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, will kick off the event along with a few words from base leadership. Following Marsh, retired Chief Master Sgt. Robert Gaylor, the fifth chief master sergeant of the Air Force, will address the crowd.

Afterward, the convention will remain open for visitors to socialize, browse the various informational booths and enjoy light refreshments before they are served a lunch of hamburgers,
hot dogs, chips and a beverage.

The 42nd Medical Group will have several booths set up where retirees will be given medical screenings. Estate and retirement planning will be explained by the legal office, and the Airman and Family Readiness Center will give advice on financial security.

Others present will be Maxwell's personal work-life consultant and representatives of various base agencies.

After lunch, retired Col. Henry "Hank" Fowler will share his story as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and how his ensuing physical and mental suffering was a small price to serve his

Honoring the heroic efforts of all retirees is the goal of the Military Retiree Appreciation Day, and budgetary constraints were not going to stop Jackson from making the day a reality.

This year, Jackson and his team of volunteers found creative ways for local businesses and community organizations to donate prizes, money and goods toward the event.

"We've had multiple campaigns to reach out to the local community and find a way to make this happen," Jackson said. "The local community has really stepped up and supported this event."

Gifts and door prizes valued at more than $4,000 have been collected for the event. Prizes will include free hotel stays, cruises on the Harriott II Riverboat and theatrical play tickets,as well as discounts on meals at local restaurants, car maintenance, bowling, groceries, donuts, pizza and more.

For any questions, call Jackson at 953-2786 or Carla Martin, 42nd Air Base Wing special events coordinator and protocol officer, at 953-4220.