Retiree day generates strong interest

A lot has changed since Ken Cravens retired from the Air Force more than 30 years ago.

The Layton resident, along with hundreds of other military retirees and their families, attended Hill Air Force Base's 23rd annual "Retiree Appreciation Day" on Friday.

The annual conference held on Aug. 28 was open to retirees from all branches of the military, offering veterans a chance to learn about retirement benefits, receive tours of the base, and network with other military retirees.

"This is great for us retired guys," Cravens said. "I've been retired since 1977, and it can be hard to stay current. It's a completely different world now."

Most retirees attending live in the Top of Utah, but some attendees came from out of state.

Hill supports approximately 18,000 retirees and their dependents in Utah, the southern portions of Idaho and Wyoming and eastern Nevada.

"We're thrilled with the attendance," said Col. Calvin Williams, vice commander of Hill's 75th Air Base Wing. "We've got great men and women from all over the West that we support and some of them don't really have computers or great access to us.

"This way they can get an up-close look at what's available to them and be well aware of their rights and entitlements."

Retirees visited exhibits and displays on pharmacy services, blood pressure screenings, physical therapy, the base commissary, family support, retiree activities, and base dental and legal offices.

"There are a lot of services they have available to them, provided by the base, that they might not know about," said retired Marine Col. Dan Petrizzo, director of Hill's Retiree Activities Office.

"As a retiree myself, I know how important it is to have the chance to interact directly with the active duty component.

"Hopefully, the people who attended really gained something."

Senior leaders at Hill also held town hall-style meetings, fielding questions on topics ranging from veterans' health care to how to access the base's new fitness facility.

"It's nice to hear directly from these current commanders," Cravens said.

"They're the ones who are really in the know."

For more information on retiree benefits available at Hill, call the Retiree Activities Offices at (801) 777-5735.

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