Keesler says 'thanks' to military retirees

Keesler says 'thanks' to military retirees

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of people who made a career out of military service spent time Friday learning how to make the most of their retirement years. Keesler Air Force Base hosted its retiree appreciation day, where much of the focus was on healthy living.

From vaccinations to blood pressure checks, Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps retirees picked up all kinds of information about how to keep their bodies healthy, as well as what warning signs to look for that something is wrong.

"You've got to stay healthy," said Bob Harris, retiree. "Try to live as long as you can. Live a healthy life. That's important."

"It's a variety of information, from healthcare to your veteran's administration benefits to the activities here at the base," said retiree Dick Hobson.

Benefit Health and Fitness, which runs all the gyms on Keesler, gave tips on staying fit after retirement.

"It's really good to establish a regimen and work in healthy habits, like going for morning walks, playing golf or even being outside and being outdoors," said Jake Regal, fitness expert.

Keesler officials said with most of the volunteering on base being done by these veterans, it's important to say thank you. Air Force retiree Master Sgt. Ivan McAlister is the Director of Keesler's Retiree Activities Office.

"The retiree population is helping support the people that are out there now being deployed all the time," said McAlister. "I heard one say this morning she was getting ready for her fifth deployment. Those troops are out there defending us like our retirees did World War II, Korea, Vietnam, right up until today, so it's a two way street."

The retirees say they enjoyed getting to know those who are serving now. Aaron and Brenda Lewis drove over from New Orleans for a second straight year at the event.

"I love it, because they're newbies, and I also encourage them to keep the uniform on and always try to do the right thing," said Aaron. "Keep it on as long as you can. I wish I could have kept mine on 10 more years, but I had to get out. I retired."

During the festivities, the retirees were also treated to lunch.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.