JBLM gives back to retirement community

By Melissa Renahan on May 15, 2014

Any military retiree, regardless of their branch of service or where they presently reside, as well as dependents and surviving spouses, are welcome to come out on Friday and take advantage of the pooled resources at the Military Retiree Appreciation Day (RAD).

Joint Base Lewis-McChord will host the annual event from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 16, at the American Lake Conference Center, located on JBLM North. The first RAD was held over 20 years ago and it has grown exponentially since then, especially with the joint basing.

"This day is set aside to give back to the retirement community. You were important, you are important and you are going to continue to be important to the military," said Alex Silva, JBLM's Retirement Services Officer. "We appreciate them and the active duty military appreciates them."

The event, which is put together by the JBLM Retiree Council, is expected to see a turnout of about 2,500 military beneficiaries in just a 5.5-hour period.

The Madigan Army Medical Center Health Fair will start the day at 7:30 a.m. when it opens for blood sugar and cholesterol testing (both require a blood draw and 12-hours fasting prior to the test). There will also be blood pressure checks (no caffeine or tobacco for three hours prior) and participants should bring along vaccination records for review. Informational exhibits and information about Tri-Care medical and dental benefits as well as other social support services will be onsite.

"The health fair is probably the most important thing that day because a lot of the retirees are coming from outlying areas and they don't get seen all the time by physicians, so this is like a great check-up," said Silva.

"So many Madigan clinics are on hand, including a number of specialty clinics. Then the retiree can return to Madigan on another day and be seen within these clinics - it provides a shortcut," he continued.

Retirees and family members who are enrolled in DEERS can update information and obtain replacement military ID cards during the event. In order to do so, they must bring a DD214, marriage certificate, divorce decree or death certificate and two forms of identification if needed to verify eligibility.

A legal assistance station will be set up to help attendees with information and no-fee preparation of wills; general, special, or medical powers of attorney, and answers to legal questions provided by I Corps and JBLM Staff Judge Advocate's Office.

Retirees will also be able to register vehicles for use on base at the onsite registration table so long as they show valid proof of an insurance card, state registration, state driver's license, and military ID card). Information about firearms registration will also be available at this station.

Additionally, the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs will host a Compensation Review Station for veterans who wish to initiate or seek an increased disability rating, Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) or determine eligibility for new or expanded benefits created by recent changes in federal law for retirees with service-connected disabilities. Retirees must bring their DD214 and information about any other VA benefits received to fully utilize this station.

Finally, booths representing state, federal and other non-profit agencies will be staffed in order to answer questions about benefits and services their organization(s) have available for veterans and military retirees.

For more information about the JBLM Retirement Services Office, call 253.966.5881/5884 or visit www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/rso/.