BAUMHOLDER, Germany – The oldest small lodging facility in the Army beat out newer, shinier facilities to bring home first place in the 2019 Army Lodging Operation of the Year – Small Facility Category.“This is a moment we will never forget because you truly work for such an occasion,” George Franklin, Baumholder Lagerhof Inn manager said of his staff and himself. “It shows that, with patience, all things will work out for the good in life, especially when you need your spirits lifted.”The Lagerhof Inn on Smith Barracks only has a staff of 13. The facility has 45 guest rooms and served 22,898 guests in FY19. Franklin said the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the staff does things, but not their level of customer service.“Those adjustments were just hurdles we’ve faced while running a 24-hour operation,” he said. “The Stop Movement Order [issued by the Secretary of Defense in March] almost brought us to a halt. We had to determine how to control our labor expenses while still providing the customer service levels we expect of ourselves.”The original three buildings making up the Lagerhof Inn were built in 1932 by a private company. During World War II, members of the German Army took over the inn. After the occupation, American forces took over the lodging facility in 1951. The Lagerhof went through a year-long renovation in 1983-84.“They don’t have the newest hotel. In fact, they are number one in line for renovation and construction of a new facility,” said Gary Burton, USAG RP Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director. “That makes their win even more special. They didn’t get this win because of a shiny new hotel, they won it with true commitment to excellence and by providing superb customer support.”The win also comes with a $10,000 check for lodging operations improvements. Franklin said he plans to use that money for more training for his staff and small projects that need immediate focus.Franklin added that most of his guests are there during a permanent change of station, which is stressful on the military members and families in the best of times, as they are either arriving or leaving the Baumholder Military Community. He said it’s his job to take away the worry of where the military member and their families will lay their heads at night and where they can eat.“Our guests are stressed enough,” Franklin said. “We try to absorb their pain and serve them with a professional smile and respect every time we see them.”The new facility won’t be built until at least 2022, according to Greg Williams, Directorate of Public Works director. He also said it will not be built on the same site.