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W.Va. National Guard hosts 3rd annual Statewide Military Retiree Appreciation Day

West Virginia Press Association

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. – The West Virginia National Guard, in partnership with the West Virginia Retired Military Council, hosted the third annual West Virginia Military Retiree Appreciation Day at the Glen Jean Armed Forces Reserve Center, Glen Jean, West Virginia, April 13, 2024.

The event was open to all military retirees, immediate family and surviving spouses from all branches and components, and provided a venue for retirees to get updates on benefits and current retiree issues as well as to reconnect with service and veteran service support organizations.

At the 2024 RAD event, more than 200 retirees, veterans and family members were able to update identification cards, learn about new legislation including the PACT Act which greatly expanded Veterans Administration services for those exposed to chemical agents and burn pits, mingle with more than two dozen community partners and vendors, and enjoy time spent together with their fellow retirees and families.

Brig. Gen. Murray Holt, Assistant Adjutant General – Army, addressed the crowd thanking them for their legacy of service to the state and nation, and provided a briefing on activities of the West Virginia National Guard during the previous year.

“Our military today stands on the shoulders of your decades of dedicated service,” said Holt. “Your legacy of service enriches us all. We are forever indebted to the faithful dedication and devotion to duty you displayed while in uniform, and we are honored by your continued contributions as retirees.”

Each year, dozens of RAD events are held around the nation.

“RAD events are important for a variety of reasons, including educating retirees about new programs and existing program changes,” stated Mark E. Overberg, Director of Army Retirement Services. “We want to make sure retirees understand the benefits available to them and their families so they can utilize what they have earned through their service.”

RAD events are usually hosted by and center around active-duty military bases. For example, the regional Retirement Service Office for the U.S. Army that services West Virginia is located at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. This left many retirees in rural communities around the nation with lengthy and often costly commutes to receive services. Approximately a decade ago, Mr. Overberg’s office sought to provide a remedy to this issue by writing a policy allowing for state-level events hosted off active-duty bases.

West Virginia was the first state to jump at this opportunity.

“There was a critical need for more localized one-on-one support for retirees across the full spectrum of services,” said Overberg. “The West Virginia Retired Military Council and the West Virginia National Guard proactively took the ball and ran with it, to amazing results. Now, when traveling the nation and working with other retiree councils, I often point them to West Virginia as a model to follow and emulate.”

Mr. Thomas A. Goff, Chief Warrant Officer 5 (Ret.), co-chair of the West Virginia Retired Military Council, appreciates the national-level praise.

“In West Virginia, we hold our veterans, and especially our retirees, in the highest of esteem,” said Goff. “Statistically, West Virginia provides per capita more sons and daughters for our Armed Forces than any other state, and many of them return to the Mountain State after they have completed their service. With no active-duty base to service our veterans and retirees, it is imperative that we have a strong and capable council that can advocate at the highest levels of state and federal government to meet their needs. So, knowing that our efforts are recognized and complimented at the national level is a great honor.”

The West Virginia Retired Military Council is comprised of representatives from nine regions throughout West Virginia. Members must be retired from service, including “grey area” retirees who have retired but are not yet old enough to draw full retirement pay benefits. The council’s mission is to share helpful information pertaining to pensions, benefits, activities, and legislative efforts that impact the retired military community. The council also assists in supporting the full spectrum of military servicemembers and their families to include active duty, reserve component, retired and veteran.

In 2025, the RAD event will expand into a full weekend to be held at Camp Dawson in Kingwood, West Virginia, currently scheduled for the first weekend of April.

“Each year we continue to grow our RAD event, increase our outreach, and build our services,” said Goff. “I cannot thank the many volunteers, speakers, and the members of the West Virginia National Guard who helped make the 2024 event such a success. 2025 promises to be even better, and we hope to see many more of our retired brothers and sisters in arms join with us in what promises to be a memorable and enjoyable weekend!”

Anyone who is interested in the work of the West Virginia Military Retired Military Council, or would like to serve as a regional representative, may contact the Ft. Knox Retirement Service Officers office at [email protected], (502)624-7236/1280, Mr. Goff at [email protected], or visit the West Virginia Military Retiree Group on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WVMILRet. Additional information may be found at https://soldierforlife.army.mil/Retirement/blog, or https://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil.


Photos from the event may be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wvng/albums/72177720316203219

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