For the first time since September 2019, Fort McCoy held a Retiree Appreciation Day (RAD) for military retirees Sept. 9 at the installation and hundreds of retirees and their spouses attended.
The guests for the 2022 RAD had a day filled with activities open to them as well, including a welcome from Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Messenger as well as briefings from numerous guest speakers.
This year’s event was also held in a new venue. In past years, it was held in building 905. This year, the event was held in building 2472 — one of the newer dining facilities recently built at Fort McCoy.
“I thought it worked well and had plenty of space for the event,” said Fort McCoy retirement services officer Brent Johnson with the Directorate of Human Resources. “We found that our guests were able to find plenty of parking, and they were able to find the location. We’ll also take what we receive from our feedback from this event and incorporate it to make next year’s event even better.
“The ultimate goal of the Retiree Appreciation Day is to bring together those military retirees and give them an opportunity to receive some of the most up-to-date information on the benefits they are entitled to with a seminar setting followed by a retiree benefits vendor expo,” Johnson said.
In addition to all the activities in building 2472, RAD attendees were able to purchase discounted items during a special sidewalk sale at the Fort McCoy Commissary. Many attendees also shopped at the Fort McCoy Exchange for items and purchased lunch at the Exchange Food Court and McCoy’s Community Center.
And at Fort McCoy’s Commemorative Area, which was open from noon to 4 p.m. on the afternoon of the 2022 RAD, dozens of guests visited the area.
“It was nice to have the visitors come by the Commemorative Area and see everything here,” said public affairs specialist Kaleen Holliday with the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office. “Some had last been to the Commemorative Area when they were at the last Retiree Appreciation Day and were happy to be back to see more. I also enjoyed having the retirees coming to share their stories about Fort McCoy, especially Camp McCoy or other service locations.”
One of those military retirees making a return trip to Fort McCoy was Charles Benbenek of Hazelhurst, Wis., who is retired from the Army.
Benbenek attended the RAD and visited the Commemorative Area.
“I thought it was a good event,” Benbenek said. “I spent a lot of time here in the ’70s with the 724th Engineer Battalion. We did quite a few projects around the post.”
Benbenek said he had last been to Fort McCoy 15 years ago so attending the RAD and visiting everything brought back plenty of memories. “It was nice to come back,” he said.