NEWS | Aug. 19, 2019

Military benefits topic of discussion at depot event

By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher

The day started early for the lawyers and paralegal who volunteered services to help visitors attending Tobyhanna Army Depot's annual Retiree Appreciation Day event on Saturday. 

Military retirees from all branches of service started filling seats in the packed house long before the ceremony kicked off at 9 a.m. Vendors and guest speakers offered personnel up-to-date information regarding a number of benefits. The guest speaker was Terry Goodyear, Tricare representative.

Depot commander Col. John McDonald thanked members of the audience for attending the day's event as part of his opening remarks. He also provided a brief state-of-the-depot report updating everyone on the latest strategic plan, which is scheduled to launch in October. The colonel talked about the improved sales and operation plan, hiring, safety and community engagement.

"The TOBY2028 initiatives are the roadmap that will lead us to our goal of being the best value to our warfighter," McDonald said. "Team Tobyhanna is committed to executing numerous plans under four lines of effort -- C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future, Invest in Our People and Strategic Communications."

McDonald concluded his remarks by paying tribute to the hundreds of people assembled in Building 2, Bay 1. 

"Thank you for attending today, and most importantly, for everything you've done to support and defend our great nation," he said. "I look forward to meeting everyone and hope that you enjoy your day at Tobyhanna Army Depot."

Seminars provided opportunities for attendees to learn how to navigate the world using Space A travel, understand healthcare issues and discover steps to take once retirees turn 60 years old. The legal team assisted with wills, power of attorney documents and requests for legal aid. The reservists are attached to the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command, 7th Legal Operations Detachment, Schenectady, New York. More than a dozen vendors lined the hallway to answer questions and distribute handouts during the event. 

Morning refreshments and lunch buffet gave attendees a chance to network and share experiences with contemporaries with service dates from World War II until now. 

It was gratifying to listen as a 93-year-old Sailor talked about his experiences as a tool and dye worker in the United States Navy. He's been attending the Retiree Appreciation day for eight year in hopes of seeing someone he served with during his 26 years on active duty. The information available at the event is helpful, he said, but it's the camaraderie that brings him back every year.

According to Lisa Crews, the event would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of everyone involved. A special shout out went to members of the Retirement Services Office and Installations Services Directorate's Community Services Division for spearheading the event.

"Throughout the event, we had one thankful retiree after another expressing how grateful they were to attend and how much pertinent information they took away," Crews said. "So many people helped make this event a success." Crews is the Army Community Services Branch chief.