Vermont armed service retirees honored and taught about benefits

Published: Aug. 12, 2023 at 8:11 PM EDT
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) - People from all branches of the armed forces and uniformed services gathered at the Vermont National guard for the 25th Annual Retiree Appreciation Day.

“I really enjoyed seeing all the bases and helping people and talking to young people of course when I was deployed,” said Jonathan Liiamaa.

Officials say the event gives those that are retired from the military an opportunity to learn about the benefits they qualify for.

“And some of the services that even sometimes new services come online that we can help them with and sometimes they just need help to make sure their will is up to date and things like that,” said Colonel Tracey Poirier.

The location of Retiree Appreciation Day changes yearly between Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.

People that attended learned more information about health care and survivor benefits.

“So, I think that it’s incumbent on us who are still in uniform to help those who have already come out of uniform. When we take the oath, we promise to support and defend the constitution and there’s no time limit on that. So, these veterans -- they have done their service to the country -- and it’s incumbent on those that are still in uniform to make sure they get the benefits that they deserve,” said Poirier.

Jonathan Liiamaa retired from the navy reserve, and he says he was surprised when he walked in.

“This is a whole day of all kinds of services and so this is great, I mean, more retirees need to come to this to see the variety of services and get updated information, and I’ve learned a lot today just hearing people talk and asking questions so it’s very beneficial. I just encourage any retiree from any branch of the military to come and see cause all these people are really helpful ,” said Liiamaa.

And those with the uniform work hard to maintain the legacy.

“Everybody that ends up putting on the uniform is wanting to do their duty and part of our duty is to take care of those that went before us,” said Poirier.