ANSBACH, Germany (Aug. 31, 2016) -- Many different on- and off-post organizations took part in the Community Showcase at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach to meet with community members at the Katterbach Fitness Center.

The Back-to-School Fun Run preceded the annual showcase, wherein several participants in the child, youth, and adult categories won prizes.

The intent of the showcase was for community members to find out what services are available to them and to register with some of those services.

To meet the different organizations, visitors to the showcase walked through the fitness center's main basketball court hall to the different on- and off-post organizations, who had tables set up there.

Col. Benjamin C. Jones, USAG Ansbach commander, started the event off the showcase and the run by speaking to a crowd of service providers, event organizers, showcase visitors and fun runners.

"I come to the showcase today not only as a commander but also as a newcomer," said Jones, who took command of the garrison in July. "As a newcomer, the showcase gives us all an opportunity to learn about what the garrison has to offer."

USAG Ansbach's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation organized both the fun run and the community showcase. Several of their services were there, including Army Community Service; Child, Youth and School Services; the entertainment division; library services; marketing; Family Advocacy Program; Exceptional Family Member Program; New Parent Support Program; Sports and Fitness; and more. Throughout the event, the Sports and Fitness division held class demonstrations community members were invited to join. The entertainment division held a Sound of Music flash mob in anticipation for their upcoming performance of the musical.

Many other garrison organizations had representation inside as well. Several commercial sponsors and other organizations held raffles for prizes, including consumer electronics and a two-night stay at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. The Voting Assistance Office showed newcomers how to register for an overseas absentee ballot. The garrison's Public Affairs Office handed out community guides and taught visitors about the garrison's smartphone application. The Military Police displayed their equipment. The Veterinary Clinic talked to newcomers about their four-legged Family members. The Directorate of Public Works talked housing and environmental management with community members. Many other organizations had tables, giveaways, and talked with visiting community members.

Several organizations had stations with interactive components outside as well. Outdoor Recreation had a mobile rock-climbing pillar set up. The Safety Office set up a bicycle safety rodeo, whereby participants learned how to bike safely and then rode through an obstacle course. Community members had the opportunity to simulate impaired driving by wearing distortive goggles and driving a golf cart in a demonstration operated by the Army Substance Abuse Program. American Legion Post 1982 gave out hot dogs. The Muna Museum had a static display and costumed members to demonstrate the historical U.S. Army equipment they have on hand. The Fire Department of the Directorate of Emergency Service had their cherry picker set up, a simulated smoke house, and inflatable bounce house set up.

During his remarks, Jones thanked the service providers and all the event coordinators. He concluded by thanking the community members as well.

"A big thanks goes back to you, our USAG Ansbach community members," said Jones. "You're the reason we're here. I'm happy to count myself among you as a member of this community, and I look forward to working with all of you."

With the help of Patrick Kabuye, DFMWR's director of sports and fitness, and Gary Sowders, a recreational aide who acted as a master of ceremonies, the children from ages 5 through 11 -- and a few younger children -- formed up for the run down the boardwalk toward the Katterbach Kaserne roundabout and back. Jones, Command Sgt. Maj. Derek R. Cuvellier, director of Public Works Walt Mattil, and Sowders gave the finishers ribbons and medals for their efforts.

The approximately five-kilometer run, which started following the children's run, included children and youths older than 11, adults 18 and older, adults with strollers, and adults and their leashed dogs. Spc. Emerson Thayer of the Ansbach Army Health Clinic finished first.

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For more photos from the event, visit "USAG Ansbach Community Showcase and Back-to-School Fun Run 2016" in the "Related Links" section on this page.

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