Col. John Zapata, 86th Mission Support Group commander, and Col. William Galbraith, 21st Theater Sustainment Command deputy commander, hosted a Retiree Appreciation Day event Oct. 18 at the Ramstein Officers’ Club.
The ceremony invited all members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community to honor service members who served in the military in the past and to provide a forum of resources for retirees living in the area.
The Joint Color Guard led the start of the formal event, followed by a speech from guest speaker Col. Timothy Hudson, Landstuhl Medical Regional Center commander, and was concluded by Zapata and Galbraith pinning more than 60 Vietnam veterans in the room.
Retirees participated in a raffle and received service from all four of the Army dental clinics in the KMC.
“I think Retiree Appreciation Day is important not only to the retirees but to their families as well,” Zapata said. “I just like everyone getting together. I like getting to spend time with these folks that have retired just to share stories and exchange experiences. The other thing is the events we have set up for retirees seem to grow in magnitude with each year. I’m really pleased to see this increase in the service provided to our retirees.”
Retirees, such as retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Leon Sidoruk, confirmed the importance of this event.
“I was very impressed, indeed,” Sidoruk said. “The friendly atmosphere, the great reception and everyone being so kind to us was nice to see. Sometimes retirees can feel forgotten, but this made us feel really appreciated.”
The Joint Color Guard ceremony and both national anthems, sang by a U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band performer, were well received by members of the audience.
“Hearing the German national anthem and our national anthem was beautiful and, you know, when you see our colors, you feel the great sense of pride,” Sidoruk said.
Sidoruk looks forward to next year’s Retiree Appreciation Day and expressed gratitude for the continued support the Kaiserslautern Military Community shows for its retirees.
“I feel at home,” Sidoruk said. “For 45 years of my life I’ve been a part of the U.S. Air Force. This base is my home and these people are