Keesler hosts annual retiree appreciation day

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Greg Biondo
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
The room was filled with weathered and stern faces. The clacking of rifles was the only sound that could be heard as honor guard made disciplined movements to get into the position of present arms. Then, as if rehearsed, the crowd started to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" while uniformed service members stood silently at the position of attention, paying respects to the flag and to the men and women who have served 20 or more years of military service in defense of their nation.

This was the scene at Keesler's annual retiree appreciation day held at the Roberts Consolidated Maintenance Facility, Oct. 25.

Personnel from the medical group were present to give health advice and there were several booths set up at the event to give information about different services available on base.

"As a retiree, being honored by the base means that we are not forgotten and are still part of the service we served in," said retired Master Sgt. Ivan McAllister, 81stTRW director of retiree activities.

Smiles were brought to the faces of many retirees as they got the opportunity to talk with many current service members and reminisce about the days spent serving their country.

There were also a few guest speakers in attendance to pass on information and show their appreciation for the retirees. Among them were, Brig. Gen. Kory Cornum, 81st Medical Group commander; Col. Rene Romero, 81st Training Wing vice commander; Chief Master Sgt. Farrell Thomas, 81st Training Wing command chief; and retired Chief Master Sgt. Chuck Teston.

"When people say 'man it's tough serving in the Air Force today' I say, well think about serving in the Air Force in 1970 or 1960," said Thomas. "Think about what those people went through to make our service a better place and not just our service but our world a better place. It's not only active duty, retirees, Reserve or Guard, we're an Air Force family."

The event was hosted by the 81st Training Wing with assistance from on-base and civilian contributors which allowed a free lunch to be served and provided door prize drawings.