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Veterans get checkups at Retiree Appreciation Day

Published: 05:52PM May 24th, 2012
Veterans get checkups at Retiree Appreciation Day

Jessica Hall/Northwest Guardian

John Dunsmoor and Bev Ciesinski of Madigan’s Vascular Surgery perform carotid artery duplex scans on Bonnie Johnston, left, and Anne Lundeen at Retiree Appreciation Day May 18 at McChord Field. Jessica Hall/Northwest Guardian

More than 2,000 retirees and family members flooded JBLM McChord Field’s Hangar 9 May 18 for the annual Retiree Appreciation Day. The main attraction of the day was the Madigan Health Fair portion, which featured free services by 56 different departments from the hospital.

Army retiree Art Borras of Everett drove down for the JBLM health fair because it’s more “robust” than the one at his hometown naval base.

“As you get older things change, so I got information on that,” he said. “It’s helpful for a lot of people who don’t have access to this all the time.”

Some of the departments on hand included vascular surgery, podiatry, immunizations, and urology. For the health-care providers, May 18 was all about prevention and education.

Dental Command personnel examined retirees for oral cancer and anomalies despite the fact that they typically only care for active-duty Soldiers.

“Unfortunately we can’t treat them but we can offer information, advice and screenings,” Col. George Holzer of DENTAC said. “This is our way of saying thank you to (retirees) and introduce our young officers to the history that goes along with military service.”

Retirees also could re-enroll into the Madigan Healthcare System. With the opening of clinics in Puyallup and Lacey, there is room for retirees to receive their primary care at Madigan or one of the outlying clinics, depending on their age and eligibility. Madigan staff members said they’re excited to welcome retirees back to their care.

“The fair gives retirees the opportunity to see what’s available at Madigan,” Col. Beverly Cornett, deputy commander for Nursing at Madigan, said.

Besides the health information and screenings, retirees were able to register their cars for installation access and get legal advice.

Captain John Nelson, JBLM Office of the Staff Judge Advocate chief legal assistance officer, and his staff offered estate planning, power of attorney forms and wills. Nelson estimates that their services saved retirees a minimum of $500 if they received multiple documents.

“We are helping a group of people who are very appreciative,” Nelson said. He added that retirees can always visit a military legal assistance office for such documents as long as they have ID cards.

Other groups on hand to meet retirees and their spouses were Gold Star Wives, Survivor Outreach Services, Association of Retired Enlisted Wives & Spouse Club and DFMWR.

For some retirees, the information was secondary to seeing their friends.

“I come to meet with old friends, enjoy the atmosphere of military camaraderie and see the latest thing in the medical facilities,” Army retiree Leonard Foster said.

Colonel Thomas Brittain, JBLM commander, thanked the retirees for coming out to the event and for their service. Brittain even had his arteries checked by technicians from the Vascular Surgery Department. His favorite part was spending time with retirees and service providers.

“This is our way to pay them back for their leadership when they wore a uniform,” Brittain said. “Their service to our nation has enabled us to continue serving.”