Team Malmstrom puts on annual weekend to honor service retirees

  • Published
  • By Valerie Mullett
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Once again, the members of Team Malmstrom rallied together to provide the area retirees with a weekend full of events both meant to help them take care of personal and medical needs, and to serve as a social setting to get reacquainted with old friends.

Malmstrom's annual Retiree Appreciation Weekend took place April 23-25.

The weekend officially kicked off with a formal retreat honoring the retirees April 23 at Medal of Honor Park. Col. Michael Fortney, 341st Missile Wing commander, gave the opening remarks welcoming the guests of honor.

"We set aside this weekend every year to honor and pay tribute to our retired brothers and sisters in arms," he said. "To those whose shoulders we stand on here today. And we pause to pay tribute to those who gave so much of themselves."

He also called for a moment of silence for all the fallen comrades.

"But this ceremony here today is a celebration . . . a celebration of service. Service to our services - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard - and service to a grateful Nation," the commander said before ending his welcome with a heartfelt thank you.

Retiree Ron Sperandia, dressed in his period uniform, played "Taps" on the bugle for an added special touch to the ceremony.

Following retreat, many of the retirees gathered at the club for a no-host social hour to get reacquainted with their friends they hadn't seen since the event was held last year.

Saturday started bright and early for many, with the clinic opening at 7 a.m. Many retirees needing blood work had fasted the night before in preparation, so were ready to for the day to begin when the doors opened. Fresh fruit, cookies and coffee, along with smoothies and other healthy treats were strategically placed at various locations throughout the clinic to fill them up once their blood had been drawn and to nibble on throughout the morning. Besides being able to get a variety of health screenings and tests, informational brochures on numerous health-related topics were available around every turn.
Benefis Healthcare Systems returned again this year to provide heel screenings for bone density and osteoporosis.

The customer service area at the Military Personnel Section was open to renew ID cards and get registered into the new DBIDS, or Defense Biometric Identification System, being implemented on base. The commissary, base exchange and Elkhorn Dining Facility each had hospitality tables set up to greet the retired visitors.

Following a full morning of taking care of business, many retirees retreated to the chapel annex for informational briefings being presented there.
The final event of the weekend was the appreciation dinner at the Grizzly Bend Club. More than 140 attended. Following presentation of the colors by the Malmstrom Honor Guard, playing of the National Anthem, and a POW/MIA ceremony presented by members of the Airman Leadership School, dinner was served. Several door prizes were given away and the Great Falls Accordian Club provided the entertainment. Retired Brig. Gen. Rex Tanberg, Jr., Montana Air National Guard, served as the guest speaker.

" I think it went really well. I mingled with as many as I could and everyone expressed how well the weekend went," said Denis Miller, Director of the Retiree's Activities Office. "Everyone I talked to said it was better than last year and had good things to say both while I was talking to them and in their surveys they filled out."