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Academy holds annual Retiree Appreciation Day

Col. Jeffrey Flewelling, 21st Space Wing vice commander, thanks retirees for their service and leadership during the Front Range Retiree Appreciation Day event at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., July 23, 2011. The event was co-sponsored by Peterson AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Col. Jeffrey Flewelling, 21st Space Wing vice commander, thanks retirees for their service and leadership during the Front Range Retiree Appreciation Day event at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., July 23, 2011. The event was co-sponsored by Peterson AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Airman Holly Ayuyu and Senior Airman Barbara Coddington speak with a visitor during the Front Range Retiree Appreciation Day at the Air Force Academy July 23, 2011. Ayuyu and Coddington are dental technicians with the Academy's 10th Dental Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Airman Holly Ayuyu and Senior Airman Barbara Coddington speak with a visitor during the Front Range Retiree Appreciation Day at the Air Force Academy July 23, 2011. Ayuyu and Coddington are dental technicians with the Academy's 10th Dental Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

A visitor to the Front Range Retiree Appreciation Day checks out a Health and Wellness Center display set up by the Air Force Academy's HAWC staff July 23, 2011. The event featured speakers from each of the local bases' host wings as well as Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

A visitor to the Front Range Retiree Appreciation Day checks out a Health and Wellness Center display set up by the Air Force Academy's HAWC staff July 23, 2011. The event featured speakers from each of the local bases' host wings as well as Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Lee Thomas talks about the Air Force Academy's Outdoor Recreation and Outdoor Adventure programs during the Front Range Retiree Appreciation Day at the Academy July 23, 2011. Thomas is an employee with the Academy's Outdoor Recreation Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Lee Thomas talks about the Air Force Academy's Outdoor Recreation and Outdoor Adventure programs during the Front Range Retiree Appreciation Day at the Academy July 23, 2011. Thomas is an employee with the Academy's Outdoor Recreation Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- According to the Pennsylvania Dutch, we get too soon old and too late smart.

Airmen here believe they can help remedy that problem, which is one of several reasons they maintained the annual tradition of Retiree Appreciation Day with an event in the Arnold Hall ballroom July 23.

Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Luda, one of the organizers of this year's Retiree Appreciation Day, deemed the event a success. More than 40 information booths were available to the military retirees who circulated around the room throughout the morning.

Luda, who is the 10th Medical Surgical Squadron superintendent, said organizers were pleased with the outcome and are already exploring the possibilities for next year's event.

"Most likely there will be some changes so we can improve this event even more than we did from the previous couple of years," he said. "This may include (an) alternate venue, more in-depth services like legal wills, and maybe even more medical booths."

Dispensing pertinent information Saturday were a variety of entities that play roles in the lives of military retirees. Medical knowledge, support organizations and assorted local groups and networks were well-represented.

Although former members of any branch of the U.S. armed forces are welcome to attend, Luda said the vast majority of people who showed up this year were Air Force retirees and their family members.

"While we had a significant-size crowd, we expect even better success next year while trying to reach more people through various methods of advertising and marketing," Luda said. "The key is for those who attended this year's event to spread the word to their friends as well."

If that happens, military retirees from southern Colorado could defy the Pennsylvania Dutch wisdom, getting smart with plenty of time to spare.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui