Retirees advance AF family at D-M

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's Retiree Activities Office is located at 3500 S. Craycroft Rd., east of the base chapel, and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The RAO was established by the Secretary of the Air Force to serve military retirees, spouses, widows and widowers, and to support, advance and unify retired and active duty military families. (U.S. Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Mya M. Crosby)

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's Retiree Activities Office is located at 3500 S. Craycroft Rd., east of the base chapel, and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The RAO was established by the Secretary of the Air Force to serve military retirees, spouses, widows and widowers, and to support, advance and unify retired and active duty military families. (U.S. Air Force photo Airman 1st Class Mya M. Crosby)

U.S. Air Force retired Chief Master Sgt. Bill Love, Activities Office first deputy, poses for a photo in the RAO at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 12, 2016. The RAO’s most popular services include retiree orientations, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and military widower and widow services. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mya M. Crosby)

U.S. Air Force retired Chief Master Sgt. Bill Love, Activities Office first deputy, poses for a photo in the RAO at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Oct. 12, 2016. The RAO’s most popular services include retiree orientations, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and military widower and widow services. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mya M. Crosby)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The Retiree Activities Office was established to serve military retirees, spouses, widows and widowers, and to support, advance and unify retired and active duty military families.

The RAO’s services range from retiree orientations, military widow and widower services, to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. The office also offers assistance with military entitlements, former spouse benefits and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The office has been operational with a prior-military staff of 147 volunteers. They vary from separated or retired U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.

“You never know who’s going to walk through our door,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Bill Love, D-M’s RAO first deputy. “We’d be glad to help any service – Department of Defense-wide, not just Air Force.”

The volunteers work three to five hours per week between 14 different base organizations to assist the AF family.

“If you ask our staff why they volunteer, they would usually tell you the same thing,” said retired Brig. Gen. Keith Connolly, D-M’s RAO director. “A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for any amount up to and including their life. We are proud and we still want to give back to the Air Force family. When you’ve been in 20 years like Chief Love and I, it’s all you know, so you just don’t walk away.”

The staff prides themselves on maintaining the link to the AF family via contribution.

“Your time is the most precious commodity you have,” Connolly said. “You realize that when we do something together, we are really what America is all about, and that’s working together. I feel strongly that volunteerism is a good approach to helping America out. I don’t care what ethnic background you come from, when we help each other, we realize we’re all in this together.”

The RAO is located at 3500 S. Craycroft Rd., east of the base chapel. Their office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 228-5100 or email them at retired@dm.af.mil.