KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - It's big - gigantic actually. Shiny, beautiful and now, it's green - Army green that is.

Soldiers, Army civilians and their family members grabbed the KMC (Kaiserslautern military community) Unit Strength Award - the huge trophy - Oct. 24 at the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's 2009 Red Ribbon Run on Rhine Ordnance Barracks.

What started out and remained a friendly challenge, the Unit Strength Award made its debut at this year's event and was a competition between the three military services in the KMC - the Army, Air Force and Navy, said Heather Robinson, the garrison's Army Substance Abuse Program prevention coordinator.

"A challenge to see which service could get the most people to show up and stand up for being a drug-free community," said Robinson, who initiated this event in 2007 in support of the National Red Ribbon Week.

Red Ribbon Week is an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually the second to last week in October throughout the United States and military installations worldwide.

"Just look how beautiful this trophy is," said Robinson to Alex Tremble, the 86th Airlift Wing's Demand Reduction Program manager, who actually came up with the idea of a friendly challenge between the services.

"Looks good," Tremble answered back, and then explained why he came up with the challenge. "Just to make sure that the word gets out about this community project. This event is something that brings us all together, and that is exactly what happened."

Out of the 339 runners and 147 walkers, the Air Force had 95 participants - a big jump from the two previous years when the event was a Red Ribbon Relay held at the track on Vogelweh. Why the event changed from a relay to a 5-kilometer or 3.1-mile run was because of circles, said Tom Dennis, the garrison's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sports and fitness director. The garrison's FMWR co-sponsors the event.

"Just too many people running in circles - people would get frustrated and stop. It was just too hard to tell where it started or stopped," he explained the reasons for the change. "So much better this year - there was a start and a finish, and runners knew their times."

For the second year in row, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command's 5th Quartermaster Company - "The Riggers" won for the unit with the most participants. Another new trophy was added to this year's event - the Most Percentage Based Unit Strength Award - that was won by the garrison's Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.

Second place went to the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery. A total of 32 individual trophies for first and second place were given to the fastest male and female runners in each of the eight age groups.

"Next year, it will be the Air Force winning that big trophy," promised Tremble, making sure Robinson heard him. "We'll see," she challenged back.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16