2010 deconstructed: Military, civilian heroes contributed to last year’s successes

The year 2010 didn’t come with a blueprint for success. There were challenges; however, a look back at the highlights of last year in U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart reveals that hard work and perseverance contribute toward making a year remembered for its shining moments.

Organizations and individuals laid the groundwork for attaining goals, evidenced by awards earned in the European and worldwide arena.

New leaders
Col. Carl D. Bird replaced Col. Richard M. Pastore as garrison commander during a change of command ceremony July 19. Special Operations Command Europe also had a change of command, in which Maj. Gen. Michael S. Repass assumed command from Maj. Gen. Frank J. Kisner July 26. The Stuttgart Army Health Clinic; 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and 52nd Signal Battalion, among other units, also received new commanders.

During a Volunteer Recognition Ceremony in April, community members were recognized for improving the quality of life on and off post. In 2009, 897 registered volunteers donated 200,000 hours to the garrison, according to Laura Jean Davis, USAG Stuttgart ACS volunteer coordinator.

The volunteers’ work “describes and kind of defines what the community is like,” she said. “If we didn’t have volunteers to do it, it wouldn’t happen.”
On Oct. 22-23, 2010, more than 400 volunteers gave time and goods to local charities for “Make a Difference Day.”

Community members also give financially: a total of $612,843.38 was donated to the Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas this year.

The community’s spirit of giving was vividly illustrated in November, after a warehouse fire destroyed the household goods of close to 120 community members Oct. 30. Many organizations and individuals joined forces to provide support. 

“The way volunteers and people totally unrelated have pulled together to try do something is wonderful,” said Spc. Keenan O’Donnell, who lost his household goods in the fire. 

Awards, accolades
Several community members and organizations set the standard for excellence by garnering top honors, in both military and civilian sectors.

For the first time, a noncommissioned officer from USAG Stuttgart earned the title of Army NCO of the Year. Staff Sgt. Christopher McDougall, assigned to USAG Stuttgart’s Provost Marshall Office, became the Army’s “Best Warrior” Oct. 25.
Many service members assigned to garrison tenant units were recognized for their actions during deployments.

In early 2010, Capt. Erhan Bedestani received the 2009 Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award for demonstrating duty and honor during deployments to Afghanistan. In August, Master Sgt. Joe Dickinson, a Green Beret from the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) became the American recipient of the Frederick Award for his heroism and leadership during deployments
In July, 129 Soldiers in the 554th Military Police Company received Army Commendation Medals for their actions during a deployment to Afghanistan from June 2009 through May 2010; 14 Soldiers received the Bronze Star for service; four received the Military Service Medal, and one received a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal with a V device.

In December, Sgt. Javier Rodriguez-Torres, a cook assigned to Headquarters Support Company, 1/10th SFG(A), was awarded the Bronze Star for courage under fire while running a military kitchen in Afghanistan.

The 1/10th SFG(A) Dining Facility on Panzer Kaserne was also awarded first place for small garrisons in the Installation Management Command Europe and U.S. Army Europe 2010 Philip A. Connelly Awards Competition.

In the civilian arena, three community members won honors in the Army-level Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Arts and Crafts Contest. Additionally, three community members placed in the top three in the All Army Photography Contest in 2009 (awarded in 2010).

FMWR also earned several prizes for its theatrical productions. At the 2010 Installation Management Command-Europe Tournament of Plays, Stuttgart Theatre Center’s “Rabbit Hole” won three awards. “Patchwork,” won seven, including Best Comedy and Best Director (Barb Heidt). At the FMWR Command Festival of Arts Competition, “Man of La Mancha” received 10 awards, including first place for musical director (Alan Buxkemper).

In addition, Dave Roach, formerly the manager of the Kelley Hotel and now the Panzer Hotel manager, was named Lodging Hotel Manager of the Year.

New construction

2010 also realized the completion of several major construction projects.
The new Kelley Shoppette opened in March, offering 2,800 square feet of groceries and four gas pumps.

Kelley Barracks also opened USAG Stuttgart’s first Postal Service Center, a combined Army Post Office and community mail room, June 14.

A new, $5 million Kelley Child Development Center opened Aug. 23. It is the first of four specially funded CDCs to be completed in Europe.

“This facility represents the Army Family Covenant’s commitment to … increasing the availability, quality and affordability of child care,” said Col. Carl D. Bird, USAG Stuttgart commander.

The Panzer Hotel officially opened its doors Dec. 15. The hotel has 218 rooms on seven floors.

From the physical bricks and mortar to the framework of military and civilian leadership, the highlights of 2010 will serve as a model for newcomers, and a monument to those who worked to make the community a better place.