Retirees Activities Office keeps retirees connected

Medical personnel talk with a retiree during a Retiree Appreciation Week event at Ramstein Air Base, Oct. 4, 2016. The event provided a one-stop-shop for the retirees to take care of questions they may have about medical or legal matters as well as receive financial assistance and flu shots. Photo by Senior Airman Larissa Greatwood

Life in the military is an adventure. Service members become family with the strangers around them and form bonds with the people they might not normally, but when their careers come to a conclusion, the transition to retired life can be difficult. That’s where the Retirees Activities Office comes into play.

The RAO provides support to retirees, active-duty members, and spouses throughout the Kaiserslautern Military Community. The RAO also serves as a bridge between the retiree population and local installation commander to address issues in the community as well as host outreach days and other programs for members in the area.

Amongst the programs offered, the RAO hosts a program called, “Retirees Helping Retirees,” which is tailored specifically for retirees to help one another.

The program began in 2011 when 16 volunteers took initiative to support neighbors in their town and surrounding villages. The program steadily grew in size to approximately 40 volunteers by the end of 2017.

The volunteers help the retirees with day-to-day tasks such as picking up mail, driving to the pharmacy or commissary, or providing assistance filling out paperwork.

The RAO also worked directly with nurses assigned to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to form a hotline to provide hospitalized retirees with rides home. Nurses contact the on-call phone carried by a volunteer who will then pick up the member and drive them home.

Along with supporting members through the Retirees Helping Retirees program, the RAO supports with information seminars, briefings, and workshops. Information discussed in the seminars includes how to retire in Germany, how to access Veteran’s Affairs benefits and Tricare while being retired in Germany, and information a surviving spouse needs to know.

“It’s amazing to see people in this day and age spend their time, which seems so valuable, helping other people,” said Lou De Andrade, the RAO director.

To find out more information on how to volunteer, contact the Retirees Activities Office at 480-5486, or 06371475486.