Vol. 50, No. 01, January 2021
Serving the Greater Stuttgart Military Community
The Monday family poses for a physically distanced “pandemic portrait” on Patch Barracks.
A LOOK BACK AT
Photo by Paul Hughes Vicki Herrmann, a CDC employee, prepares for reopening of the CDC on Panzer Kaserne.
Photo by Kristen Benda
Some national events sear themselves into our collective memories to be recalled and re-lived forever. Over the decades, traumatic incidents like the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Challenger space shuttle explosion and 9/11 stand out vividly. Where we were, who we were with and what we were doing can be recalled as clearly as if it occurred yesterday. So what happens when a traumatic event lasts a year? However you experienced 2020, chances are you will remember several parts of this pandemic in detail while others will fade away, until you see an old
picture, or perhaps, this newspaper clipping 20 years from now. We at the Citizen look back at the moments that challenged us and united us as a community in 2020. Even during the most difficult of times, there were glimpses of hope and joy. Even our ugliest days saw acts of kindness that stand as reminders of why our motto remains, “I’m glad I live here.” To read about the biggest moments of 2020 for the Stuttgart Military Community, turn to pages 7-10.
Photo by Rick Scavetta For three months, prior to June 5, children were unable to use playgrounds on post.
Stuttgart Elementary thrives amid COVID — Page 5
COVID-19 vaccine arrives at USAG Stuttgart — Page 6
Stuttgart Citizen becomes Army Vet.’s hometown paper — Pages 12-13
Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
2020 was a year to remember for many unusual reasons By Col. Jason Condrey Commander U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart For many, January is a time of resolutions as we envision all that we can accomplish in the New Year ahead. At the start of 2020, I had plans to ensure the completion of several construction projects around our installations that would alleviate stress on our community. As we moved through that first month, we looked at ways to improve our Stuttgart App and facilitate faster, smoother communication flow from the Garrison team to you. I had several housing concerns on my radar as we looked for ways to enhance the quality and satisfaction with on-post housing. And we were encouraging mass participation in our community town halls so that I could hear from you. There were so many projects, improvements and ideas I had hoped to tackle in 2020 but our mission shifted immediately when COVID came to town. Suddenly, limited parking was the least of our concerns. Instead of opening new facilities and expanding service offerings, we shuttered everything on base that was not mission-essential. In early March we heard healthy people should not wear masks, by April we were requiring them in every facility on-post and forcing you to wash your hands before entering. From mandating mask wear before the host-nation did, to implementing red, white and blue service schedules and limiting the number of cleaning items you could buy in the commissary, the restrictions came hard and fast, and with the benefit of great public health advice, often before many were mandated. Chances are most of you spent some time in quarantine this year and possibly took your family with you on that two-week journey. If you think that made you unpopular with your spouse and kids, just be glad you weren’t the dad who had to cancel Halloween. I know that not every change I implemented was received enthusiastically, and many were quick to let me know when I was wrong, but I valued every piece of
UNITED STATES ARMY GARRISON STUTTGART Commander Col. Jason W. Condrey Senior Enlisted Adviser Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Norman Public Affairs Ofﬁcer Larry Reilly
feedback you gave over this last year because it allowed us to focus our efforts where they were needed most. Together, we were able to move forward and eventually take charge of the COVID situation within our gates. And as I look back at how this community adapted and overcame every challenge thrown in our way during the past 12 months, I am once again amazed at the resiliency of this community. When the time came for us to act quickly, I appreciated your trust and willingness to follow the guidance that allowed us to set the
terms with this adversary. Now as we move into 2021, and we anticipate that light at the end of the COVID tunnel, I am asking you to do it again. Because even though January 1 offers us a fresh start to a new year, in every direction, you can see reminders of the enemy of yesterday. We are more informed and prepared to keep it at bay but it only takes a few missteps to undo all that we have accomplished. We must continue to wear our masks, wash our hands, maintain our distance and support one another through this unprecedent-
ed time. If we do that, we will maintain the initiative in this pandemic. In closing, I would just like to add that we still tackled several of our 2020 projects, like opening up 160 more parking spaces on Patch with a new parking garage, improving the process for completing work orders in on-post housing and soon we will begin to quickly see the impacts of 4 new contracts centered on our facilities, housing and grounds. We leveraged, what I believe to be, one of the best apps available on any military installation, to provide you with instant notifications of changes in a fluid COVID environment and provide access to virtual and in-person services. Despite all of the setbacks and changes to how we operate, COVID could not stop us from accomplishing goals and bettering our community last year and it won’t stop us in 2021. We are ready & engaged, resilient and focused on results. So as I set my goals for 2021, I ask that you continue to send me your questions, comments and concerns and invite you to join the community conversation every other Thursday night at 6:30. And as I move into the final six months of my time as your garrison commander, I resolve to keep finding ways to make this community one you can be glad you live in.
Photo by Rick Scavetta, USAG Stuttgart Col. Jason Condrey speaks to the community during a livestream community update.
Mac Hightower, Rick Scavetta, Kristen Benda
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ USAGarrisonStuttgart/
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The Stuttgart Citizen is an authorized newspaper, produced in the interest of the U.S. Army community in Stuttgart by the U.S. Army-Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Ofﬁce. Contents of the Citizen are not necessarily the ofﬁcial views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government or the Department of the Army. The Stuttgart Citizen is printed by AdvantiPro, a private ﬁrm in no way connected with the U.S. Govt., under exclusive written agreement with U.S. Army Stuttgart. It is published monthly using the offset method of reproduction and has a printed circulation of 5,000 copies. Everything advertised herein shall
be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political afﬁliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchaser, user or patron. The appearance of advertising herein, including inserts and supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the Dept. of the Army, or AdvantiPro, of the ﬁrms, products or services advertised. Unless otherwise indicated, all seven-digit phone numbers in The Stuttgart Citizen are DSN numbers and all longer numbers are civilian.
Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
Send your announcements for upcoming events to the USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
sign-on and a dashboard for quick access to all your volunteer tools.
Expired pink card holders granted extension The U.S. Army Customs Agency - Europe office has coordinated with the German General Customs Directorate to authorize an automatic extension of expired/ expiring German Forms 0217 (Pink Cards) through June 30, 2021. This exception eliminates the need for retirees and other "Pink Card" holders to visit a military customs office for issuance of a status verification, or to make follow-on trips to responsible German customs offices to obtain a card if their last one was valid at least through March 1, 2020. As German Customs operates differently regionally, all "Pink Card Holders" should continue to monitor emerging guidance from their local German Customs Offices. To maintain current COVID19 preventive measure requirements, German Customs offices may be working by appointment only to avoid further traveling, which allows card holders to submit their receipts via mail or to provide them at a later date.
Volunteer hours served between Dec. 31 and Jan. 11, should be tracked and entered into the new system after Jan. 11.
ACS volunteer tracking system joins the cloud Information previously found on Army OneSource will be available on the new Army Family Web Portal for staff and volunteers starting Jan. 11. The Volunteer Management Information System (VMIS) will transition to the new cloudbased portal as well. The move is the result of feedback from volunteers looking for a more efficient way of tracking hours. On the new VMIS, you have streamlined
BOSS offers voice for Single Service Members The USAG Stuttgart BOSS program (Better Opportunities for
Single Service members) is open to Enlisted and Commissioned Officer personnel, living on- or off-post, from every branch of service who are single, a single parent, or married but on an unaccompanied tour. BOSS represents the voice of the single service member in how you live, spend leisure time, and support the community around you. Meetings are held bi-weekly on every first and third Thursday of each month, from 11:45 a.m. to 1
p.m., and presently over Microsoft Teams. All commands and organizations are asked to designate a service member for BOSS with appointment orders. Please contact the USAG Stuttgart BOSS President, SFC Pierre Boynton, for more information.
AFN superstar of the month Stuttgart military community members can submit nominations
Housing on Robinson Barracks.
Housing Satisfaction Survey The annual Army Family Housing tenant satisfaction survey for 2020 is available until Jan. 15 for those living in Army privatized, government-owned or government-leased quarters. Survey participation is voluntary, with all residents encouraged to share their views about current housing, resident services and community amenities. Results will help with near-term and future improvements to housing, resident services and community amenities. Defense officials said the perspectives of service members and families can help provide them with a better quality of life through improved housing and community services. A link to the survey was sent via email to each household by
one of two third-party consulting firms administering the feedback collection and analysis on the department’s behalf. Only one person per address will receive the invitation email. If you did not receive an email, contact the Stuttgart Army housing office for assistance. All respondent information will be kept confidential. Housing contract changes Maintenance for housing issued appliances transferred from VECTRUS to PROTEC on Jan. 2. The move will significantly reduce wait times for responses and repairs. The Appliance Contractor PROTEC has opened a service order desk for tenants to request repairs to housing provided appliances. On first contact, the contractor will now provide
the customer a repair appointment, eliminating the wait for a telephone call from the housing office to schedule a second appointment. The PROTEC service order desk can be reached toll free at 0800-22 55 900 or online at www.spoc.protec-world.com and will be manned from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, including American holidays. They will be closed on local host-nation holidays. PROTEC’s service order desk only accepts repair calls for domestic appliances provided by the garrison housing office. VECTRUS will no longer accept repair calls for domestic appliances after Jan. 2, but will continue to accept repair calls for all commercial appliances and equipment.
for the next AFN Stuttgart Superstar of the Month. Help recognize an exceptional member of your unit, organization, or anyone within the community. Superstars set an example for others in the community including volunteers, general do-gooders, people going above and beyond for a neighbor, friend or family. To nominate a community member, send a message with the name, organization and why you think the person is a superstar to the AFN Stuttgart Facebook page. Nominees will be featured on air at AFN Stuttgart 102.3 The Eagle and AFN 360. CYS Virtual Recruitment Fair On Jan. 12, Child and Youth Services will host a Virtual Recruitment Fair. CYS is looking to fill Child & Youth Program Assistant (CYPA) positions. Positions are available on all USAG Stuttgart installations. Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) positions are open to all qualified candidates eligible for appointment under U.S. employment conditions. Applicants must be 18 or older, have a high school diploma or GED and have good English skills. For more information call 0964170-596-4100 or DSN 596-4100.
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Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
Garrison welcomes new CSM By Becca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
Like many who serve, Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Norman joined the Army in 1996 because he wanted to earn money for school. With a passion for cooking, he enlisted as an Army Food Service Specialist to gain experience and see if the culinary world was for him. What he discovered over the next 24 years was that while cooking remained a passion, the Army became his life. “I thought about getting out several times around the six-to-eightyear mark,” said Norman, who even went as far as applying for jobs. “I had two feet out the door but I pushed through some tough years and I am super happy I did.” Over the course of his career, Norman has held a multitude of roles in 9 different units. Most
Q: Where are you from? A: Riceville, Iowa. It is a small town of about 700. My graduating class had 50 people and it was considered big. Q: How has your background as a cook prepared you to lead? A: I like that my background comes from the support realm because it reminds me that everybody's job is important. We often take for granted those behind the scenes but its more than just the boots on the ground. Everybody has to do their part, including all the support aspects, to get the mission done. Q: What kind of advice do you give to junior service members who want to succeed in the military? A: Know your job and do it well. Focus on training others. My motto is, it's our job as leaders to train ourselves out of a job. We need to focus on preparing the next generation of leaders. Photos by Rey Ramon,TSC Stuttgart Sgt. Maj. Billy Norman assumes responsibility as Command Sgt. Maj. of U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart on Dec. 16.
recently, he assumed responsibility as U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Command Sergeant Major during
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a live-streamed ceremony on Dec. 16. This marks his third tour as a command sergeant major and his second at the brigade level. "I’m happy to have another opportunity to be part of a garrison as your CSM,” said Norman, who PCS’d from USAG Japan. “It’s our job to take care of people and make sure they have what they need to succeed. That includes our soldiers and their families but also the tenant commands, local nationals and civilians who keep us running.” Upon arrival in Stuttgart, Norman entered quarantine before assuming responsibility. His time at home gave him an opportunity to learn the new installation. “I've been observing and looking for areas I can help,” he said. “I want to understand the new system so I can see where I can add to that. I learned at the senior leader level that there are many ways to get the job done so I’m open to learning how we effectively support the community.” Norman said he was impressed with the way the garrison has handled COVID-19 restrictions. “Our garrison is on the ball when it comes to COVID” he said. “The fact that I could in-process from home was on another level
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? A: There’s been a lot of challenges along the way. Personally, it’s being adaptable as we move so much. Learning the ins and outs of different theaters, jobs, and organizations. Q: What has been the biggest reward in your career so far? A: The most rewarding achievement I had was when I got the call that I was selected for promotion to Sgt. 1st class. It was humbling to know that Army senior leaders saw that potential in me. It was a really exciting time. Q: What are you most excited for at USAG Stuttgart? A: It’s a new challenge. A new theatre, new experiences. I’m excited about being in Europe and being able to travel eventually. DEFINITELY EXCITED FOR THE FOOD. Q: Where is the first place you want to go when COVID restrictions lift? A: There are some local restaurants that I am excited to visit again. The food here is amazing, especially the Maultaschen. and I’m excited to work with such a motivated team.” Norman described his role on the command team as the “eyes and ears of the commander” and said he hopes to act as a bridge between the community and the commander, to be a conduit for information, needs and ideas to flow through. “I want to know what is going on. What are people liking, what are they struggling with and how can we help them,” said Norman, who encourages the community to share their issues and concerns with the command team. “We can’t
fix what we don’t know is broken. Utilize the tools we have in place to bring issues to our attention so we can engage and work on making our community the best it can be.” Norman said he will know if his time here has been successful when the people around him don’t just know the garrison motto of “I’m glad I live here,” but live it. “Family is a strong part of my small-town background and taking care of people has been my mission since my first army job in a supporting role. If I can look around and see the people that I live and work with are happy and successful at the end of the day, I have achieved my goal,” Norman said.
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Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
Stuttgart Elementary School
employs successful COVID mitigation strategies
By Paul Hughes U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
Photo by Geoffrey Morris, USAG Stuttgart Students learn a new song while physically distancing in Mrs. Wagner's music class.
Photo by Paul Hughes, USAG Stuttgart Stuttgart Elementary School 5th grade teacher, Tammy Mattson, gathers her students on the first day of school.
Photo by Becca Castellano, USAG Stuttgart Elementary school students wash their hands as soon as they enter the classroom in the morning.
Photo by Geoffrey Morris, USAG Stuttgart Students at Panzer Elementary School settle in for music class.
peers and the quality of Despite these new The support of the those interactions.” measures, the students' Do DE A district office, Between new clean- respon se was described which sup ing duties, one-way traffic as plied extra remarkable by prin- tables In August 2020, stufor pat gym dining tern s when transiting cipal Mo dents and teachers ss-Beaman. are as, has the been vital sch ool and spread resumed face-to-face “They have adjusted throug hou t out the first half lun ch schedules, to learning in classes at Stuttgart Elean envi- of the school year. chi ldre n Mossand faculty had ronment that mentary School after requires Beaman said their to ada pt quick qui ckl y to a new them to be con nearly six months of out sciously responses to req nor ma l. uests aware of safety,” Moss- and of the classroom sessions. sug ges tion “Th s e stu has den ts' res il- Beaman said. “This has To prepare for their helped her school stay ien cy has bee n a key ensured that the num- CO return, classrooms were VID-free. stripped of carpets and factor in their success as ber of COVID cases “It’s pretty astoundthe y continue to follow stayed desks were spaced apart. at zero and that ing, we are the largest mit iga tion efforts every students rem Hand washing stations ain togeth- elementary sch day ,” ool in Mo ss- Bea ma n er and learn were installed outside of in the the area and for us said . “Th not ey hold each classroom env each room and masks ironment to have closed is oth er acc am azoun tab le and with teachers.” were mandatory when ing,” she said. “We did hav e a gre at underphysical distancing could Stuttgart Elementary have one close scare not be maintained. The standing of why it’s so School has a perfect wh ere it was a parfirst major difference important to follow the rec ord aga ins t the ent tha t tested positive rul es.” coronavirus so far this and most students noticed we briefly closed Wh en asked about school was saying the pledge of year with zero a classroom the , but even cha nge s made at the cases report allegiance while wearing ed in class- that was out of beg inn an abuning of the school rooms. Mo a mask. ss-Beaman dance of caution year, 5th graders from said .” Although children that they have only Bec aus e Tam of my the Ma panttso n’s class, had to make min could no longer sit near or demic, a large propor said the y ma inly not iced changes to their origin friends and share hugs al tion of teachers' time phy sica l dis tan cin g and COVID-19 procedure with teachers, the social s has been spent on mitiinteraction that com- the move to electronic in order to bolster its gat ion efforts focusing dev ices. effectiveness. ing to school provides on the safety of stu“Ev ery one we ars was still present in every “Instances where dents and ensuring that ma sks and social dis- children have activity. to gather in the event of tances, we do more tog a posiether, such as break- tive “The initial reaction cas e, con on tac the t traccom put er now fast and lunch from the students was pure times ing can be undertake and les s n, pap erw ork,” needed refinement,” excitement to be back after she both within the facility sai d Nyl ah Sw ani gan. explained. Two “Griffi nearly half a year without n and on busses. classroom teaching,” said “I would prefer paper, cafes,” outside of the “Collectively we bec ause the computer lunch Principal Tessa Mossroom, expanded have don e an amazing kin d of hurts my eyes.” the sch Beaman. “It really chalool’s ability to job, and we could not Jac k Michaels added provide lenged their understanding enough time have done it tha without the t “th ere ’s less con- and space to of how important it is to eat while support of the par tac t and ents, we can’t hug maintaining physically be with their physical teachers and studen anymore.” ts,” distance. Moss-Beaman said.
Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
USAG Stuttgart begins COVID-19 vaccinations Christopher Spangler, a registered nurse at Army Health Clinic Stuttgart, holds the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Patch Barracks on Dec. 31, 2020.
Story and photos by Becca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
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The COVID-19 vaccination arrived in Europe and was administered at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Thursday, Dec. 31. U.S. Army Health Clinic Stuttgart commander, Lt. Col. Maria Bruton, and Director of Emergency Services, Lt. Col. Adam Cronkhite, received the first dose of the two-part Moderna vaccine. Bruton said she volunteered to receive the vaccine first to show that as leader of the health clinic, she believes it is safe and it is a positive step forward for the Stuttgart military community. “I know a lot of people are unsure about getting the vaccine because it is new and production happened relatively quickly, but that does not mean corners were cut,” Bruton said. “Experts came together and dedicated resources, personnel and man hours to get this life-saving mission accomplished.” The clinic staff will roll out the vaccine to the Stuttgart military community in accordance with the Department of Defense’s COVID19 Vaccine Distribution plan, which uses a tiered structure to prioritize key groups, like health care workers, emergency services and high-risk populations, first. Bruton said the clinic will keep the community updated as they move through the tiers. “It’s emergency-use approval only right now and not mandatory for anyone,” said Bruton, who explained how the vaccine works. “It builds your immunity against the virus so that if you do contract it, your body can recognize
it and combat it faster. Ideally you shouldn’t get sick at all, but if you do, the symptoms should be far fewer and less severe.” The Moderna vaccine requires a second dose 28 days after receiving the first dose. Moderna is the second vaccine to receive emergency-use approval by the Food and Drug Administration. It was chosen by the DOD for overseas locations because of its ability to be transported and stored at higher temperatures. The first vaccine, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, must be shipped and stored in an ultra-cold freezer. All DOD personnel who elect to receive the vaccine will be monitored to ensure the booster is administered on time. As a first responder and Army leader, Cronkhite said he received
the vaccine because he wanted to do his part to protect the Stuttgart military community. “It’s important that I show my emergency services team that I would not ask them to do anything that I’m not willing to do myself,” Cronkhite said. “And anything I can do to prevent the spread of the virus is important to me.” Several other health care workers and first responders received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine after Cronkhite and Bruton. Both leaders said it was a great end to a challenging year for their teams. “We’ve been dealing with this pandemic for almost 10 months now,” Bruton said. “This is a positive sign that we will eventually reach the other side.”
Health care workers receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Army Health Clinic Stuttgart on Dec. 31, 2020.
Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
A LOOK BACK AT • •
THE YEAR THE WORLD CAME TOGETHER AS PEOPLE STAYED APART
Various utility and construction projects on-post created detours and delays The Stuttgart Piranhas returned from the European Forces Swim League, Rheinland divisional championship meet, with Stuttgart’s fourth divisional win in ﬁve years Germany began requiring bakers, hairdressers, restaurateurs and other retailers to issue receipts to their customers in
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hopes of making tax evasion more difﬁcult Jan. 27, the ﬁrst case of COVID19 was conﬁrmed in Germany Jan. 28, Stuttgart Citizen runs an article about the new virus impacting Asia Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna die tragically in a helicopter crash. This would become 2020’s most talked about moment on social media
IMCOM-Europe Soldiers met in Stuttgart for the 2020 Best Warrior competition on March 1 — Stuttgart’s Staff Sgt. Ben Wright took home the title for NCOs COVID-19 reached Stuttgart U.S. Army Garrison Italy found itself at the heart of the virus’s European epicenter as Italy locked down On March 5, 17,556 people watched the ﬁrst Facebook live-streamed town hall at USAG Stuttgart — The weekly Facebook livestream became a direct channel for the garrison commander to communicate policy changes to the community March 10, Germany reported
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the ﬁrst death caused by the virus March 13, USAG Stuttgart tested its ﬁrst positive case USAG Stuttgart closed all nonessential services to include CDCs, gyms, the USO, the law center and playgrounds DoDEA schools announced they would close for one month Long lines at the commissary lead to empty shelves inside as people stockpiled supplies Playgrounds on-post closed Trace teams and 14-day quarantines were implemented to control the spread of COVID-19 March 13, the DOD issued a stop-movement order, halting all leisure and PCS travel
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Eligible veterans with pink cards were given access to shopping facilities on base U.S. military chefs competed in the 2020 Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung culinary Olympics against 1,800 top chefs from around the globe - bringing home silver among military teams Stuttgart Citizen runs an article stating the coronavirus has infected hundreds and killed four in Asia
March 16, garrison “tiger” team members begin asking anyone entering the installation, “Can you tell me a symptom of COVID-19?” and “Do you know where to go to get tested?” Germany banned the export of protective gloves, masks and suits as supplies dwindled German ofﬁcials dismissed the idea of a travel ban Robert Koch Institute urged healthy people not to use face coverings or disinfectants March 22, restaurants and hairdressers closed and gatherings of more than two people were banned for two weeks
Stuttgart High School drama club put on the Wizard of Oz People donned decorative masks and gathered to celebrate Fasching with parades and festivals across Germany Feb. 25, U.S. military leaders began enacting control measures on-post as the virus reaches Europe
For photo details, please read the corresponding bullets next to the images. To view videos from each month, use a smartphone camera to scan QR codes.
“Red, White and Blue” schedule is introduced to reduce contact between community members (Community members were assigned a particular color and were only allowed to shop at the PX, commissary or the mail rooms during that color’s threeday shopping window) Col. Condrey’s common phrases, like “Every day is COVID day until it’s not”, “The short answer is” and “Covid gets a vote” became squares for community bingo games The garrison’s joint service “tiger” team continued screening anyone entering high-trafﬁc facilities, enforcing hand washing and asking the infamous question, “Are you feeling ok today?”
Col. Condrey issued a policy mandating masks inside all service facilities on-post Additional employees were hired in the mail room and garrison operations through Congress authorized emergency COVID-19 funds The terms mission essential and mission critical are redeﬁned as commissary workers and postal workers became front-line ﬁghters Squads of volunteers restocked commissary shelves and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with mailroom clerks, ensuring services remained available to the community Army Community Services’ Concierge shopping program provided stress-free shopping
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for high-risk or quarantined individuals Off-post, RKI began recommending mask-wear for healthy people 2,300 medical workers throughout Germany were conﬁrmed to have COVID-19 The Easter bunny made a drive by appearance on-post German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed a small, fragile victory in ﬂattening the curve and allowed large retail spaces, book stores, car dealerships and bike shops to reopen on April 20. Mask-wear was urged but not mandated Zoos, monuments, gardens and museums reopened on April 30 Oktoberfest 2020 was ofﬁcially cancelled
Nearly 130 high school seniors graduated through a drive-in ceremony while families watched from their cars and listened to the ceremony on AFN radio Playgrounds, CDCs and gyms reopen On June 14, Service members and DOD civilians walked, ran or rucked for 2.45 miles in honor of the Army’s 245th birthday The community gathers to support equality and celebrate “Juneteenth” More than 160 community
members donated blood, many for the ﬁrst time, to the Armed Services Blood Program Weekly livestreams became biweekly as restrictions were eased Restaurants open for dining-in and a new normal emerged as tracing procedures require names and phone numbers for eating out or entering services facilities On June 15, travel restrictions were lifted throughout Europe and summer vacations commenced
For photo details, please read the corresponding bullets next to the images. To view videos from each month, use a smartphone camera to scan QR codes.
DoDEA announced students would not return to school for the rest of the year Veterans of Foreign Wars laid a wreath at Washington Square on Patch barracks in a solemn honor of Memorial Day Yeoman 1st Class Petty Ofﬁcer Le'Joine J. Gardner, who moved out of her Stuttgart apartment on March 9, spent her 60th night at the Panzer Hotel, awaiting an exception to policy to PCS Community member, Kristen Benda, used a ladder and a zoom lens to capture pandemic-portraits of on-post families May 31, Red, White and Blue schedules end
• • •
The health clinic gained inhouse COVID-19 testing capabilities, producing test results in 8 hours instead of the previous 24-48 Chancellor Merkel announced that the efforts to slow the spread of the virus had worked and the ﬁrst phase of the pandemic was over All shops reopened and restaurants, bars and schools began reopening in phases On May 15, Germany eased border restrictions for several neighboring countries The “Murder Hornet” measuring 2.5 inches long, is discovered in Washington
• • •
The DOD announced plans to move EUCOM and AFRICOM out of Germany Masks became mandatory on duty busses After months of planning and special precautions to protect bat breeding grounds near Kelley barracks, 4th of July
ﬁreworks displays commemorate Independence Day on all four major installations The brand new Kelley Auto Skills Center opened Germany continued to relax travel bans, allowing unrestricted entry from 11 countries outside of the European Union
Carpets and excess furniture were removed from classrooms as DoDEA prepared to welcome students and teachers back into school School ofﬁcials, garrison leadership and medical staff worked together to prepare COVID contingency plans
• • •
Students and teachers settled into the new normal at school Bahvioral health experts and senior leadership came together to discuss National Suicide Awareness and Prevention month Army Community Services hosted a Community Activities Registration Education (C.A.R.E) Fair
German and American Soldiers ﬂew the U.S. ﬂag during a jump over a Stuttgart drop-zone in honor of all who died on 9/11 Edelweiss Lodge and Resort closed after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19 Chancellor Merkel reminded the country to continue ven-
Parents chose whether to send their children to school or continue virtually Hand washing stations around post were replaced with hand sanitizer stations More than 1,600 service members, DOD civilians and families PCS’s in and entered a 14-day quarantine A truck-ﬁre on Autobahn 8 near Vaihingen shut down trafﬁc for six hours Aug. 8, Germany mandated all travelers returning from designated high-risk countries undergo a coronavirus test within three days of arrival, unless they were able to produce a recent negative test result when entering Germany
tilating rooms to combat the spread of the virus as winter approached Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87, sparking more than 10 million posts across Facebook and Instagram
• • •
Command Sgt. Maj. Toese Tia headed into retirement after more than three decades of military service October training events like Nodal Lightning 2020 and Iron Castle 2020 continued amid COVID Plans for ﬂu shot distribution were made but shipments were delayed several times A new parking garage on Patch Barracks opened providing 160 parking spots The A81 junction at Sindelﬁngen-Ost in the direction of Singen closed completely between Oct. 26 and Nov. 6,
affecting people commuting between Patch and Panzer by way of “Frog Road” On Oct. 21, trick-or-treating on post was cancelled On Oct. 8, Germany reported 4, 096 new cases of COVID-19, compared to 2,828 the day before Chancellor Merkel called an emergency video conference with the 16 German state leaders, resulting in a partial lockdown from Nov. 2 until Nov. 30 Restaurants and bars returned to take-out only options and gatherings were limited to 10 people from 2 households
• • •
Postal employees unloaded 600 to 1,000 packages per day at the Patch community mail room The Stuttgart Health Clinic conducted its 15,000 COVID test and its 18,000 contact trace Santa visited all installations via a ﬁretruck The West Point Golden Knights defeated the Anna-polis Midshipmen for the ﬁrst time on their home-turf in the historic Army-Navy football game Off-post, all alcohol consumption outside of the home is forbidden
Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
USAG Stuttgart ﬁreﬁghters and DES personnel provide man power, water access and support to host-nation ﬁre teams battling a blaze at a thermal waste disposal facility outside Panzer Kaserne. The ﬁre, which burned for four days, came at the end of a year many termed as a “dumpster ﬁre” The country-wide lockdown was extended until Jan. 10 Dec. 11, curfews In BadenWurttemberg restricted people to their homes between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Stuttgart military community members and Americans living abroad cast absentee ballots in the 2020 Presidential election Nov. 2, all students enrolled at DoDEA schools overseas were provided free meals during the school year from the USDA approved School Food Authorities Nov. 11, more than 3,000 viewers watched a virtual Veterans Day ceremony at Patch Barrack’s Washington Square Nov. 20, the U.S. Army announced the consolidation of U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa into a single Army Service Component Command led by recently promoted Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli
Off post, restrictions stabilized daily infection numbers but failed to reduce them. Further restrictions limited gathering sizes from 10 to ﬁve people and were extended until Dec. 20 German Federal Minister of Health warned the public to prepare for “months of restrictions and abstinence” The city of Stuttgart issued a ban on ﬁreworks and alcohol within city limits on New Year's Eve
Dec. 16, all non-essential services, to include retail, closed. Mission essential employees were issued passes to commute to work Restrictions were eased slightly between Dec. 23 and Dec. 26, allowing Christmas celebrations of no more than 10 people from two households to take place The ﬁrst COVID-19 vaccines were administered at Army Health Clinic Stuttgart on the last day of 2020
Whether you believe 2020 was a year to remember or to forget, one thing is for certain. Despite the fact that the pandemic has pushed us apart in distance, in many ways it has brought us closer together in our relationships. And this is one thing we hope endures long after the crisis is behind us.
For photo details, please read the corresponding bullets next to the images. To view videos from each month, use a smartphone camera to scan QR codes.
Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
Photo by Geoffrey Morris, USAG Stuttgart Stuttgart High School Senior, Becky Rhoden, left, helps students brainstorm in Mrs. Shana Blankenship's yearbook class where she works as a teacher's aide.
Practicum program provides students supplementary skills By Geoffrey Morris Stuttgart Citizen volunteer Stuttgart High School students have a unique opportunity to gain work experience and explore future opportunities prior to graduating through the school’s Career Practicum Program. Students can select from a list of employers both on and off-post they want to apply for. Once the employer agrees to “hire” them, they work together to establish a work schedule that aligns with the student’s classes. Next, the employer outlines their expectations and duties. Substitute program coordinator, Kaitlyn Haverty, said she is always impressed with the way her students take on new responsibilities. “They want to work and they are very hard workers,” she added. “This is a great program because it really highlights their work ethic.” The program employs more than 50 students around the garrison in locations like the autocare center, food courts and hotels. This year, because of limited job openings due to COVID19, the majority of participants are working for the schools, with
several serving as teachers’ aides. “I can’t tell you how much they’ve helped,” said Stuttgart High School anatomy teacher Stephanie Payne. “They set a great example for my students too.” While on-post services retain the majority of the student hires, some venture off-post for specialized training in fields only available outside the gate. Abigail Lakich is one of those students. She travels off post every other day to work as an assistant to the dentists at Midwest Family Dentistry in Schonaich. “I’ve always known I wanted to work in medicine,” Lakich said. “But working here I’ve learned so much, and have experienced stuff I couldn’t have imagined before.” Her supervisor, Michaela
Ratcliff, speaks highly of Lakich, who wants to pursue a career in the medical field. So far she has been gaining knowledge and experience in charting and x-raying patients. One of the largest employers of practicum students in Stuttgart is FMWR, with Army Lodging employing nearly a dozen students. Lea Scavetta, a high school senior, works as a front desk clerk at the Panzer hotel. She started in late August and was able to continue working through the school year because of the career practicum program. Now she spends part of her school days booking reservations, helping guests and even dog walking for quarantined families. “It has helped me to mature as I prepare for life after high
school,” said Scavetta. The program provides an important opportunity for students, like Scavetta, on the verge of adulthood by allowing them to explore different career fields and make more informed decisions about their future goals after graduation.
Students who will be juniors or seniors next year may request to take the career practicum course by signing up on their course request forms at the end of this school year. Students already employed may request to complete their career practicum course with their current employer. Unless already employed, students will not receive pay for their time.
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Courtesy photo A photo of Army veteran Haywood Donerson saluting the flag during a Memorial Day ceremony at Patch Barracks graces the cover of the Stuttgart Citizen in 2005.
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Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
Citizen cover photo captures veteran’s essence, marks his grave By Rick Scavetta U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Haywood Donerson liked sitting at his favorite table outside the Panzer Kaserne PX, flipping through the Stuttgart Citizen – his hometown newspaper. Community members would call out to him, “Hey, Mr. D.” Donerson would often carry a copy to Leonberg, where he lived with his German wife Sibylle and their daughter, Patricia. “He always brought it home,” said Sibylle Johner-Donerson about the Stuttgart Citizen. “It was always present. You have dates and things in there that you didn’t find in the Stars and Stripes. This was for us, for here.” The U.S. Army began publishing the Stuttgart Citizen, an eight-page weekly newspaper for Americans, on Dec. 3, 1973, shortly after Donerson arrived at the garrison. A native of Washington, D.C., Donerson enlisted in 1955, at age 17, serving overseas in Korea and three tours in Vietnam. A music lover who personally knew singer Marvin Gaye, Donerson performed as a disc jockey in Stuttgart and across Germany. In the 1970’s, the Stuttgart Citizen featured activities, to include the dances where Donerson performed. It was at one of those venues, in 1976, where he met Sibylle. A year later, he retired and chose to remain in Germany. Over the years, Donerson became well known among the military community and to Germans off post. Handsome, dapper and “old school,” Donerson always attracted people who wanted to talk to him, his wife said. By the 1980’s, Donerson watched the Citizen grow into a strong community voice, to include letters to the editor and marketplace want ads. The decade began with news on a presidential directive to establish Black History Month. That winter, Army engineers from Stuttgart dug out a U.S.-run ski center in
Garmisch, after three feet of snow fell in a day. The troops earned a free day on the slopes. Back at Panzer Kaserne, Citizen reporters covered a tragedy, when a local Soldier died in a freak accident. He plugged in a coffee pot and static electricity ignited a nearby antitank weapon, killing him. In 1983, daughter Patricia came along, three months premature. After work, at a civilian job on post, Donerson would visit her in the intensive care unit for infants, speaking reassuring words through the incubator. “He walked up, said a word and her oxygen values and heart monitor went up,” Johner-Donerson said. Patricia recovered and Donerson settled in to fatherhood, while living in Leonberg and making German friends there. Meanwhile, during the early 1980’s, training was underway for a new tank – the M1 Abrams, which made the local news. The Citizen included features like the dying art of spit-shining combat boots and AFN Stuttgart’s manager describing the five years he spent as a POW in Vietnam. The Citizen staff’s hard work did not go unnoticed, wrote Capt. Bill Maddox, the Citizen’s editor. “Any success the Citizen has had is directly attributed to the soldiers laboring to find the perfect photo angle, searching for a lead to start a story or tearing their hair out trying to track down someone with information for an article,” Maddox wrote. “Demanding editors were no help.” During the 1990’s, the Citizen continued to provide local coverage as U.S. military members in Stuttgart deployed to the Middle East and the Balkans. Features then included the Army blocking Internet chat rooms and a new column called “Thorns N’ Roses,” the forerunner to ICE comments or Facebook, where community members voiced whether they liked or disliked a garrison service. As the end of the 20th century drew
Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
near, community members awaited the Y2K glitch, that never appeared. What did strike was a violent windstorm. The Citizen reported that 782 trees on post were uprooted or broken and 700 meters of fencing damaged. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, service members in Stuttgart were deployed to Central Asia and the Middle East. Community news, when the garrison was known as the 6th Area Support Group, was still important, like the renovations at the Patch Theater, international Girl Scout conventions, safety messages and local announcements. Commemorative events, like Memorial Day, remained standard features. On May 30, 2005, Citizen editor Hugh C. McBride snapped a photo of a well-dressed Donerson saluting during a Memorial Day service at Patch Barracks. “He was very engaged in the community, involved in everything,” Donerson’s wife said. “He was so proud of that picture.” McBride captured everything that Donerson was – a proud yet stern career NCO and veteran, his perfect salute pointing toward his American Legion cap, his gold watch and ring, a manicured goatee and diamond earring. “That’s him. That is the way he was,” daughter Patricia Donerson said. “That represents him to the T.” The photo ran nearly a full front page that year in early June. Donerson’s family later hung the image on the wall at home. Patricia liked the Citizen cover so much that she later brought the photo to a local tattoo artist, who inked her father’s image on her back. Thinking her father might not approve, Patricia hid it from him for years. In 2005, Brandon Beach moved to Stuttgart from California. While working at Kelley Barracks, he saw the Citizen and sought out its offices. A volunteer gig turned into a reporting job. Beach enjoyed covering local schools, connecting with the kids and their creativity, talent shows, sports and their television program, he said. “I started out at my dream job, I was so fortunate,” Beach said. “The Citizen was a huge part of the Stuttgart garrison.” In 2006, Beach won the Army’s top civilian writer in the Keith L. Ware awards program for public affairs. The following year, the Citizen moved from Kelley Barracks to its current location on Panzer Kaserne. Beach became the editor. “Everyone knew us at events – that’s the guy that writes the stories – when a Citizen reporter was at an event,” Beach said. “It added a
certain importance, it meant it was worth covering.” Beach, now a public affairs officer with the Army Corps of Engineers in San Francisco, worked closely with Susan Grady, a former Army parachute rigger who wrote for the Herald Union in Hanau, Germany before joining the Citizen in October 2007. “What a fantastic time that was,” Grady said. “I just had a blast with the people I worked with.” On an early assignment, she recalled, the garrison’s environmental team was relocating birds’ nests, during renovations at Robinson Barracks. “The birds built their nests under the eaves,” Grady said. “I was in heels, 10 feet up on a ladder trying to get a photo of these nests. That was my introduction. I had been on board two days.” Grady would go on to become the Citizen editor, seeing it change from a biweekly newspaper to an online news site. For eight years, she covered community news, local successes, and tragedies. In 2008, Grady covered the dedication of Clifton Hall, the military police barracks on Panzer Kaserne, named in honor of Cpl. Karen Clifton, a member of the 554th Military Police Company killed in Iraq by an improvised explosive device in June 2007. “Her sister and her mom were there,” Grady said. “When you talk to the people she knew and learned how she died, I’ll remember that for sure.” In 2010, the garrison began sharing news on Facebook, which helped the Citizen staff amplify the reach of garrison messages. That year, a warehouse fire burned household goods for many community newcomers, Grady said. “Everybody pretty much lost everything,” Grady said. “That was a big deal, documenting everyone’s anguish, or their joy at finding things that had survived.” Back then staff wrote, edited, and designed the newspaper. When printed, they also delivered it to stands. Now, the production and delivery are done by a contracted publisher. Grady recalls running around Stuttgart, getting stories at all times, day and night. “It’s not a 40-hour a week job, not if you care,” Grady said, recalling late nights working on the newspaper. “We would work through the weekend putting that sucker to bed. It was so much fun. We lived the job.” During that era, the newspaper launched StuttgartCitizen.com, an
FEATURE online news site that complimented the printed version. With most people getting news on computers and then mobile devices, it quickly became the focus of garrison communication efforts. In 2015, then-16-year-old Megan Brown began writing for the Citizen while in high school. She was glad the staff took a chance on employing a student intern and credits the newspaper for launching her career. “I was like any other coworker. They treated me like an adult. If my writing was bad they told me,” Brown said. “They gave me the opportunity to write stories that people would care about.” Brown covered the opening of the new high school on Panzer Kaserne and local sports. After graduating Stuttgart High School in 2016, she studied journalism at the University of Kentucky and in 2019 landed a Navy civilian job in public affairs. Working from Tennessee, she now travels to other Navy bases, interviewing Sailors for their hometown papers. “The Citizen gave me my start. I wouldn’t be where I am without it,” Brown said. “It means so much that I got to be a part of it. It was a great way to bring the community together.” The Citizen has brought the Stuttgart Military community together for almost half a decade, and for the majority of that it remained Donerson’s hometown newspaper. “He was deeply rooted, this was his home,” Patricia said. When Donerson died in 2019, Patricia chose the photo of her dad that ran in the Citizen, with his focused gaze and sharp salute, to adorn his grave stone. “He was so proud of that photo,” she said. “That’s him. That is the way he was.” That image will forever mark the final resting place of a soldier who dedicated his life to his family and community.
Photo by Paul Hughes, USAG Stuttgart Patricia Donerson touches the grave of her late father Haywood Donerson. The image etched into the gravestone is that of an image used on the front cover of the Stuttgart Citizen on May 30, 2005.
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By Paul Hughes U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Stress and anger are common feelings we all experience one time or another. To help community members process these emotions, Army Community Services Family Advocacy Program (FAP) expanded its team and added classes to meet the challenge of providing tools that build resilience during the coronavirus pandemic. “The times right now are tough, because we are not connecting with people like we used to. Add other factors to that, such as working from home or Seasonal Affective Disorder, and you reach a point where professional communication or parenting help can be of enormous benefit.” said Madeliene Wagner, Stuttgart’s Family Advocacy Program administrator. The FAP team offers several programs designed to prevent domestic violence and child abuse. Courses like couples communication, managing emotions, managing stress and positive parenting allow community members to learn skills to help them deal with various relationship and parenting challenges. To ensure adequate resources are available to the community during these demanding times, FAP has added two new members to their team and increased their ability to provide more classes. Leyla Burns, a family advocacy specialist, is one of the two new members who will conduct classes both in person and virtually. Karen Hansis, another new family advocacy specialist, will focus on providing information about how to stay resilient in the winter months ahead, especially with the COVID challenges facing the community. “Interpersonal conflict, time crunches and conflicting pri-
Family Advocacy Program continues to build resiliency on and offline
Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
“UBUNTU IS THE BEST VACCINE FOR 2021”
By Maj. Mike Smith SOCAFRICA Command Chaplain Courtesy photo ACS employees Karen Hansis and Shady Guitierrez hand out flyers at a community outreach event.
orities can play into our emotions by making us believe we don't have options for responding in ways that reflect our values and priorities.” Hansis said. “Sometimes the most powerful action we can take in a moment is a simple deep breath, to consciously feel your feet on the ground, and then choose a response. The pervasiveness of COVID restrictions can magnify that perceived sense of powerlessness and frustration.” Karen will provide helpful FAP tips, news and updates on AFN Stuttgart’s 102.3 “The Eagle” and the MWR podcast. FAP’s programs will be delivered both online and virtually. “We want to ensure that everyone is comfortable in our classes, which can be sensitive at times,” Hansis said, “Even if you aren’t ready to take a class, we are
available for advice, recommendations, or just some simple tips as well.”
January course schedule: Jan. 12: Stress Management: Address Your Stress Jan. 19: Positive Parenting Jan. 26: Managing your Emotions Jan. 28: Couples Communication: The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work
For more information or to register, call ACS at DSN 596-3362/3518 or CIV: 09641-70-596-3362/3518
Courtesy photo Couples participate in a Family Advocacy-sponsored rope course.
We’ve started a new year. A resounding virus exudes. We need a new vaccine. But it’s not for COVID-19. We need medicine for a worse pain: disunity. And the virus? Tribalism. That drive to always be “right.” Tribes will always be a part of being human. Community binds us together. But tribalism always results in the destruction of relationships. How “right” is that, then? The best vaccine for 2021 is what the South Africans call, ubuntu. Originally defined by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, ubuntu is difficult to translate into English: "my humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in theirs. We belong to a bundle of life." Summed up another way, I am because you are. And you are because I am. Tutu was a friend of the late South African President, Nelson Mandela. Tutu described Mandela’s decades-long imprisonment as a crucible. Struggling with life inside Apartheid, he responded with acts considered treasonous. Prison molded Mandela’s view of ubuntu: "in the old days when we were young, a traveler through a country would stop at a village, and he didn't have to ask for food or water; once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him.” Mandela believed ubuntu asks this question: what will you do “to enable the community around you to improve?" Sound familiar? Remember the Golden Rule? Jesus taught in Matthew 7:12 that we should do for others what we want them
to do for us. Ubuntu flourishes in the soil of the Golden Rule. We are truly inseparable from each other in this world. What you do affects others. What they do affects you. When we believe and live this way, rising water lifts all boats. We hear many stories in our office. Most reveal a struggle with something. Throw in 2020, COVID-19, and political tribalism. The struggle deepens. Often, the story communicates self-centeredness. Folks behave like it’s all about them. Workmates and dependents are affected. Overall, we feel undermanned, underfunded, and overtasked. We don’t mean to, but we can become a tribe of one. So, our office listens carefully to these struggles. Then, when it’s time to offer wisdom, we attempt to do so reflecting on personal responsibility. “Yes, others may be treating you like that. and how are you treating others?” Each affects the other. Unbuntu is the antidote to tribalism and its unintended consequences. When you believe that you are because others are, and that others are because you are, a vaccine begins to work. Quality of life, mission success and a deep sense of well-being for team and soul alike are felt. Ubuntu is about finding ways to remind ourselves each day of one another, and to show it in even the smallest of ways. This practice will transform our souls, which will transform our families, thereby transforming our team climate, ultimately transforming the culture. Happy New Year! Now, go and live the Golden Rule in ubuntu.
Stuttgart Citizen, January 2021
Army life keeps veteran serving after retirement Story and photo by Geoffrey Morris Stuttgart Citizen volunteer
Housing Office Plans and Projects Manager John Crosson works at his desk to support his fellow community members as best he can.
Story and photo by Mac Hightower Stuttgart Citizen volunteer When Arlene Ambelang arrived in the Stuttgart military community in 1995 with her husband Mark, she found language barriers a big obstacle to overcome as she did not speak German or very good English, which made finding a job and making friends difficult for the native Filipino. As she adjusted to a different life in Germany, Ambelang said she began to feel disconnected from her new community. That was, until she discovered the community chapel. Ambelang, who was raised Catholic from birth, said her affiliation with the religious services groups on base helped her overcome loneliness, beat cancer, and feel fulfilled every day. Her service began unofficially while praying one day. She noticed the chapel seemed a bit dirty and took the initiative to dust it. Later, she would water the plants. She continued doing little things here and there to help out and before long, Father Oliver Quilb took note of her commitment to the chapel in 2001. Quilb was a contract priest from the Phillipines and he inspired Ambelang to volunteer more with the church. Her most notable impacts included cooking meals for a monthly parishioners' fellowship on Panzer. The event grew to be such a success that by 2011, the fellowship exceeded building capacity. Ambelang continued buying groceries at a personal expense and spending the better part of every Friday preparing a full meal for more than 50 practitioners’. She said that while it was hard work, per-
John Crosson moved to Stuttgart six years ago to work in the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Housing Office. He stepped into the Housing Office’s Plans and Projects Manager position three years later and intends to stay as long as he can before returning stateside. Crosson developed his love for Germany and Europe while growing up as a military brat. Born in Mannheim, while his father was stationed at Darmstadt, Crosson spent a lot of time in the Army world as a kid. “We moved all around,” he said. “Looking back, it's amazing the places I got to travel to and live in.” Crosson and his brothers followed in their father’s footsteps and joined the Army as well. Crosson said he was looking for work and enlisted in 1982 to work in the Army’s construction field. He got out after his first tour to try his hand in the civilian world, he said.
A few short years later he returned to active service, this time for good. “I really missed the people,” he said. “You just don’t get this kind of camaraderie that we have in the military community out there in the civilian world, so I came back.” Crosson served for 22 more years and retired in 2006 as a Sergeant First Class. But he still wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the military environment and began looking for work in the government sector. His first job took him back to Mannheim as the installation coordinator and he began climbing the ranks from there. After more than a decade working in government housing offices, he has some advice for customers navigating the housing process for the first time. “Pre-plan and bring everything with you; even if you don’t think you need it, bring it,” he said. “Also, please be patient. We can’t always give you exactly what you want because of rules and regulations above our level, but we try our best to help
you where and when we can.” This year, Crosson celebrates 40 years of service to his country both in and out of uniform. He said the experiences he has had are invaluable but it's the people he came back for who continue to motivate him every day. “I’ve worked and traveled all over. I mean, we were building things in all sorts of places,” said Crosson. “But it’s always going to be the people for me. I just love helping people, meeting people.” Crosson’s time in Germany will be up in a few more years and he said he hopes to try out the “beautiful Pacific Northwest” for his next assignment. Regardless of where he ends up, he is confident that he’ll return to Germany in no time. When asked about his retirement plans, he added, “I’m taking it day by day, but I feel very lucky that when I look back at my life, I get that feeling that I did enough things right so that when that time comes, I will be taken care of.”
Volunteer finds joy in serving others
Arlene Ambelang volunteers her time at the Panzer Chapel.
sonally, it was very rewarding. “I was raised where no matter how little we had, we would still share it. Food is like a blessing for the soul,” Ambelang said. Eventually, her efforts were recognized by the Catholic parish coordinator Cecille Mitchell, who arranged for Ambelang to receive a small stipend for groceries purchased for the events. Ambelang continues to dedicate her time to the church even though COVID-19 restrictions have put a halt on large gatherings for meals.
She has found new ways to give of her time and a new place to show her passion for the chapel by singing in the choir every Sunday at 5 p.m. To many who know Ambelang from church, she is a dedicated example of what giving of oneself should look like. But she has a much more modest description of herself. “I do not have a success story,” she said. “My job doesn't fulfill me. I do not have a big career. So, giving my time toward doing something good is where I get my self-worth.”
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