YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Garrison officials honored local civic leaders at an appreciation luncheon at Commiskey's Restaurant June 23.

People-to-People International New Seoul Chapter is a nonpolitical, nongovernment private organization established in 1990. The group has continuously supported the Korean-American alliance with a focus on the U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan community.

During the luncheon, Garrison Commander Col. Dave Hall presented key organization members with certificates of appreciation and special medallion commander's coins.

"It is my great honor to be hosting this event," Hall said. "This solidifies our friendship even more... we are truly grateful for all you do."

Hall nominated the PTP New Seoul Chapter for an organizational award from the U.S. Forces Korea Good Neighbor Program in April.

"PTP continues stellar support for Yongsan Servicemembers, Civilians and Family Members," Hall wrote in the recommendation. "PTP is a model organization, reflecting the intents and purpose of the USFK Good Neighbor Program."

Hall told the group that without their support, events like the annual super bowl party, the KATUSA-U.S. Soldier Friendship Week, the July Fourth extravaganza and the Yongsan Fall Festival would not be the same.

"Friendship is a two-way street," Hall said. "Today, we want to thank you for all you do."

In April, the organization donated more than $40,000 to support the friendship week event. In the past year, PTP New Seoul Chapter donated more than $123,000 to support 27 separate USAG-Yongsan Good Neighbor events.

"Without PTP New Seoul Chapter, these events would be no where near as successful," said Garrison Community Relations Officer An Chang-sin. "This group is solely focused on supporting Yongsan community events that enhance our partnership."

People-to-People International is an international organization started by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 to enhance American relations throughout the world.

The organization's Web site says the purpose of PTP International is to "enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures."

PTP New Seoul Chapter President Hwang Moo-young thanked Hall for the luncheon and reiterated the group's continued support for enhancing Korean-American relations.

"We are happy to be partners with you," Hwang said. "Our goal is to promote United States and Republic of Korea relations."

The New Seoul Chapter is made up of about 150 Korean businessmen and women from Seoul.

"We hope to continue strengthening the bonds of friendship between out two nations and express appreciation to American Servicemembers," Hwang said.