Ansbach Looks to Break Record
May 2, 2008
ANSBACH, Germany - The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach community is aiming for a record with the symbol that has become synominious with U.S. military families: the yellow ribbon.
And other garrisons throughout Germany are encouraged to join the attempt here May 14.
What Ansbach hopes to do is form a huge ribbon made up of Soldiers, family members and civilians, with at least 800 participants needed, said Casey Malloy, the garrison's morale, welfare and recreation's recreation division chief.
"We would like (more)," Malloy said, "but we want and need as many as we can get."
The events calls for the first 1,000 people to receive free yellow T-shirts to form a ribbon - while hoping for good weather - to break an armed forces record set at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., in 2005.
And whether the record is achieved or not, it's a win-win situation, said Victoria Hanrahan, Ansbach's MWR entertainment director.
"It's a real morale booster for the community, our families and rear detachment Soldiers - and also our Soldiers downrange," she said
To increase participation, the event is opened to U.S. ID card holders from other military communities in Germany.
Originally, Jenny Sullivan, special events coordinator for Ansbach MWR, wanted to go for a Guinness World Record. But research showed an established mark that would be tough to beat. The largest human awareness ribbon for an event was organized by an AIDS group in Frankfurt, Germany, last summer with 3,640 participants, according to Amanda Sprague, of the Guinness records management team.
Therefore, the official unofficial armed forces record is being sought - with Ansbach looking to become number one.
But this is about more than records, said Veronica Martin, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade family readiness support assistant.
"This is a chance for the community to come together and say to our deployed spouses, 'We are thinking about you guys, we love you, and we want you to be safe,'" Martin said. "This is a big welcome-home-and-be-safe symbol, and represents us showing, as a community, our support of our loved ones downrange."
Malloy echoed Martin's comments.
"There is nothing we can do here that amounts to the sacrifices and service that our guys downrange do daily," he said. "In our busy lives, we, as a community, do not get a chance to come together as often to socialize and fellowship. This shows our Soldiers down there that we are still together as a family back home."
Malloy added that the timing of the event could not be better.
"It's coming at the right time too ... (past) the half-way mark of the (12th CAB's) deployment and the light is at the end of the tunnel," he said
Erin Binkley, whose husband has been deployed since June, is psyched about the event.
"We are keeping the home fires burning," said Binkley, who plans to attend. "I think the more we do at home to show the Soldiers we care and we are thinking about them, the better. Plus, I look great in yellow!"
The event - which will be held at the Storck Barracks airfield in front of Building 6502 - also features a free concert by country and western performer Granger Smith.
And if being in the record books isn't enough to peak people's interest, Sullivan said, "pizza, kebobs, grilled chicken, candy, beverages and other activities will be available starting at 5 p.m.
"Concessions will close for participants to form up at 5:45 p.m., and will reopen afterwards at 6:30 p.m., along with the music of Granger Smith."
To register, e-mail your name and T-shirt size (adult and youth sizes available) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the event, call Hanrahan at DSN 314-468-7636 or CIV 0981-183-636.