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(Enlarge) Barbara Botsford receives a posture assessment from Tom Horn, a physical therapist.

It was gloomy and chilly outside, but inside the main entrance to Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center (KACC) the atmosphere was warm and cheerful as the guests of honor lined up for coffee, pastries and fruit.

After that initial stop, they moved to the registration desk to sign in and find out what the day had to offer. It was Friday, Oct. 27, and Retiree Appreciation Day was getting under way.

The all-day event was a first for Kimbrough. Previous Retiree Appreciation Day activities were held at the McGill Training Center, said the post's Retirement Services Officer, Steve Ashley. He expressed gratitude for Kimbrough's hospitality and noted that the facility was running at a reduced operations level so that retirees could receive special attention.

There was much to see and much to do. After checking in, the retirees and their spouses proceeded to the KACC Event Center. There, the room was filled with booths staffed by various government agencies, veterans service organizations and other groups offering information of interest to the retirees. Representatives from the Fort Meade Retirement Services Office were just inside the entrance to provide any needed assistance.

"Flu shots. Flu shots. Anybody need any flu shots?" asked one of the medical staff. There were plenty of takers. They proceeded to the adjacent Command Suite and bared their arms for Staff Sgt. Vincent Caprio, who deftly administered the flu vaccine. Nearby, Pfc. Gloria Sweeney loaded more vaccine into new syringes to ready them for the next patients.

Retired Col. Gorham Black III, who was the post commander from 1987 to 1990, paused after receiving his flu shot to comment on the event. "It's great," he said. "This is the ideal place to have this."

Flu shots were only one of many services offered to the retirees. They also could receive posture assessments, blood pressure screening, exercise tips, diabetic screenings and many other services. One of the popular stops was the eye check station, where Maj. Joseph Harkins, an optometrist, and Albert Alston, an optometry technician, conducted basic screenings. Business had been brisk, they said.

Also on the menu were various classes that focused on everything from TRICARE to dietary supplements. One of them, conducted by Col. John Sackett, had the potential to put money into retiree pockets. The subject was combat-related special compensation, which can offer additional tax-free money to eligible veterans. A dedicated Web site -- www.crsc.army.mil -- and toll-free number, 1-866 -281-3254, provides detailed information on the program.

In addition to all the activities, lunch wasn't overlooked in the event planning. The retirees and their families had the chance to eat their noon meal at Fort Meade's new state-of-the-art dining facility, the Freedom Inn. Shuttle buses took them there and back.

As they entered or exited Kimbrough, the retirees also had the chance to learn about the post's Veterinary Treatment Facility and what it has to offer, thanks to an exhibit manned by Spc. Stephanie Martin. A friendly black-and-white cat sparked much interest, too.

The afternoon was much like the morning, with screenings, classes and other retiree-related activities on tap. The events at Kimbrough wrapped up at about 4 p.m., but that was not the end of Retiree Appreciation Day. Still ahead was the dinner at Club Meade later that night.

As the last retirees began leaving Kimbrough, Ashley expressed his satisfaction with the event. In all, about 230 people came to Retiree Appreciation Day, he said. While it wasn't the biggest one ever, it was "the biggest in quite a while."

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