HEIDELBERG, Germany - Several Installation Management Command-Europe journalists were recognized as being among the service's best during the 2008 Department of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Journalism Awards competition.

Overall, garrison public affairs shops in Europe earned four awards, including three individual first-place honors.

KLW awardees from Europe are:

Category B: Tabloid-size publication
Third place - U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Public Affairs Office;

Category E: News (Civilian)
First place - Jason Austin, USAG Baden-Wuerttemberg Public Affairs Office;

Category I: Series (Civilian)
First place - Susan Huseman, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office;

Category M: Stringer (Civilian)
First place - Ute Wolf, formerly of the USAG Hessen Public Affairs Office.

Austin - who wrote a compelling article on the emotions military families experience during a time of war - said a news story "is only as good as the subject, and Dr. Russ Claus at the Patrick Henry Elementary School had a great idea in bringing spouses together to discuss the impact of deployments. The story is the spouses' story; without them the article wouldn't have been possible."

As for earning a Keith L. Ware, Austin, a winner of two Tennessee Press Association awards in 2007, said: "It's nice to be recognized by my peers for the day-to-day work I perform in support of our Soldiers, civilians and their families. I'm glad that as a member of a team I can provide a product that serves the needs of our community."

Huseman, the 2007 IMCOM-Europe civilian journalist of the year, crafted a three-part series that gave a behind-the-scene look of Stuttgart's community theater.

"I'm not a theatrical person - I can't carry a tune - so to be welcomed with open arms into this very creative world was a real treat," said Huseman.

During her coverage, Huseman attended auditions, callbacks and rehearsals, along with going to work parties to build sets. "I almost felt as if I were part of the cast," she recalled. "In fact, just before the show opened, I was invited into the 'circle of power,' where cast members held hands and the director gave his last-minute words of encouragement. That was cool."

After taking second place last year in the series category, Huseman said she was thrilled to win top honors this year, "not so much for myself, but for all the theater volunteers whose stories I tried to tell."

"These awards are no surprise to me, and these accomplishments are symbolic of the impact of public affairs professionals around and outside the Department of Defense," said IMCOM-Europe Public Affairs Chief Ken White. "Writing isn't just a job for these individuals; these journalists are the unsung heroes, week in and week putting their heart and soul into telling stories that the rest of the world want to read about our great Soldiers and families."