A lot has changed since Ray Bursett retired from the military more than 30 years ago.
Bursett, an 81-year-old Farr West resident and retired Navy man and Air Force reservist, was one of many military retirees who came to Hill Air Force Base on Aug. 26 to learn how to get the most from Uncle Sam at the base's 25th annual Retiree Appreciation Day.
The annual conference was open to retirees from all branches of the military and Department of Defense civilians, offering them a chance to learn about retirement benefits, tour the base and network with other retirees.
"When you've been out as long as I have, it's hard to stay up to speed," Bursett said. "It can be really difficult for a lot of us older guys."
Most retirees at the event live in the Top of Utah, but some came from out of state. Hill supports approximately 18,000 retirees and their dependents within the state of Utah, the southern portions of Idaho and Wyoming and eastern Nevada.
"A lot of folks don't realize that they have benefits available here at Hill," said Col. Sarah Zabel, commander of the 75th Air Base Wing. "Any military veteran in this area can come and use our base exchange, our commissary and our medical facilities. We appreciate their service and want them to come and take advantage of what we have."
Retirees visited exhibits and displays on pharmacy services, blood pressure screenings, physical therapy, the base commissary, family support, retiree activities and base dental and legal offices.
Bursett said he lives in St. George during the winter and has to drive all the way to Nellis AFB in Las Vegas to pick up his medication when he's there. He said he hoped to find some information at the conference to help him avoid making that drive in the future.
"I hope we can figure something out," he said. "That's becoming a long trip for me to make. Hopefully I'll be able to arrange something."
Senior leaders at Hill also held town hall-style meetings, fielding questions on topics ranging from veterans' health care to how to access the base's new fitness facility.
For more information on retiree benefits available at Hill Air Force Base, call the Retiree Activities Offices at 801-777-5735.