TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — When it comes to negotiating the corridors of Travis Air Force Base to get the services and benefits they need, the military retirees can turn to the volunteers of the Travis Retiree Activity Office.
The Travis Retiree Activities Office has been serving the needs of the area’s military retirees and their families since at least 1986, said its director, retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. David Wigley.
Much of the base’s retiree program was built up by a dedicated military retiree advocate, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Joe Rowan, who died in early August.
There are an estimated 300,000 military retirees and their dependents from all of the military services in the area around Travis Air Force Base.
The Retiree Activities Office not only operates out of its office on the ground floor in the old David Grant Medical Center building at 540 Airlift Drive, but also through Bunny Dominguez’s volunteer office at David Grant Medical Center plus a satellite office located on the former McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento.
“We are here to be the bridge between the active duty and retiree population,” Wigley said. “We help them navigate the Air Force and the services offered at Travis.”
It runs the gamut from helping connect retirees to services and benefits they need, to providing a cadre of volunteers to help facilities such as David Grant Medical Center better meet the needs of its patients.
In Dominguez’s case, that is mobilizing a current volunteer workforce of about 145 people made up of active duty service members, students, retirees and dependents who work everywhere in David Grant, from the front desk to the emergency room, based on their skills and medical credentials.
“It is anywhere they are needed,” Dominguez said of her volunteers, of which about 30 to 40 percent are retirees.
The office also serves as a conduit for the base’s command on impacts that retirees have on Travis, and comes up with ideas on how best to meet the needs of retirees.
When it comes to helping retirees, the office’s volunteers are willing to escort their clients to get base identification, help them get set up with a Tricare health care representative or direct them to the base legal office for assistance with wills and powers of attorney.
“We also refer them to other offices on base, such as for tax assistance,” said retired Col. Bob Boyd, one of the office’s volunteers. “We are the facilitators. We get them to where they need to go.”
The office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m Monday through Friday, fields questions that range from how to change a disability rating to where to get a replacement American flag. The satellite office at McClellan is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Those hours can be flexible, according to volunteer and retired Maj. Roy Hollins, who said, “We are prepared to remain here to work with retirees until they get a solution to their problem.”
The office is always on the lookout for more military retiree volunteers. The only qualification is that they have access to the base, Wigley said.
Wigley is always working to upgrade information dissemination. That has recently included putting the office’s quarterly newsletter online. The office is also working to keep up with the evolving needs of a changing retiree population that is seeing fewer World War II retirees and a rise in the number of Korean War and Vietnam retirees.
“They each have their own set of requirements and we are adjusting our own programs to meet their needs,” Wigley said.
To contact the Travis Retiree office, call 424-3904 or 424-3905, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to www.travis.af.mil/units/rao.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.