Story by Maj. Cindi King Photo by 2nd Lt. Tracci Dorgan
COLUMBIA, S.C. – More than 500 South Carolina National Guard retirees attended the annual military retiree get-together sponsored by State Family Programs at the Bluff Road Armory, Columbia, South Carolina, Nov. 6, 2014.
The day provided not only an opportunity for fellowship, but also included numerous presentations about important issues affecting retirees such as TRICARE, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Employer Support Group of the Guard and Reserves and other updates about the state of the S.C. Army and Air National Guard.
“We are forever grateful for our retirees, who have set the groundwork for the incredible National Guard we are today,” said Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Jr., the adjutant general for South Carolina “You are the ones who set that piece in motion and set the pace for us to always be ready to serve the people of South Carolina and our nation.”
Livingston discussed current events related to the status of the S.C. National Guard. He said more than 18,000 men and women in their ranks have deployed since the attacks on 9-11. He also talked about Guard support provided to the state during winter storms Leon and Pax this year. Livingston noted that at this point in the Global War on Terror, this was the first time since 2003 that all units in the S.C National Guard were out of a combat zone.
James Brown, an attendee who retired from the S.C. Army National Guard as a sergeant first class in 1995 after 23 years of service, participated in the day’s activities with his wife Gayle.
“I heard about this event from a letter I received in the mail,” said Brown. “I wanted to hear if there are any updates to benefits or anything else that may be interesting.”
Debbie McNamee, State Family Programs director for the S.C. National Guard, said 571 retirees responded to their invitation to the annual program.
“This is the 18th annual event I’ve organized for our retirees,” said McNamee. “The most important information our attendees usually want to hear about are updates on Veteran’s Laws, Benefits, TRICARE, and about the Veterans Administration.”
Barbara Livingston, spouse of the adjutant general for South Carolina, shared her thoughts to the group about how important it is to never forget the sacrifices of the retirees and their families.
“You live and work in our communities and go about your daily lives as quiet heroes,” said Livingston. “No one knows who you are or the tremendous sacrifices our Guard members have made until they see them in their uniforms.”
Livingston talked about the many opportunities for the retirees to continue to be involved and receive support in the state, and concluded that they will always be members of the S.C. National Guard family.
Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/147490/sc-national-guard-hosts-annual-retiree-gathering#.VIcNQ75Xu04#ixzz3LPeKFvLJ