KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The commander of the United States Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Col. Jason T. Edwards, recognized representatives from host nation offices with the prestigious “Keys to the Garrison” award for their sustained leadership, partnership and commitment to community recently.
Emulating an American tradition where the mayor of a city presents an ornamental key to special honorees, called the key to the city, Edwards presented the heartfelt token of appreciation to the recipients for their outstanding, continuing service in support of the U.S. Army in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz.
The six recipients were:
Ralf Lessmeister, Kaiserslautern County Commissioner
Dr. Fritz Brechtel, Germersheim County Commissioner
Anja Pfeiffer, Union Community Mayor of Weilerbach
Marc Gutenberger, Chief of US Construction Program with ABB state agency
Steffen Andres, Lingenfeld Fire Chief
Stefanie Edwards, Landstuhl Police Liaison Officer
The special recognition is bestowed every two years by the garrison’s outgoing commander to thank Host Nation partners for their support during the commander’s tenure. The garrison footprint encompasses more than 30 sites and installations, to include Kaiserslautern, Baumholder, Landstuhl, Sembach, Mannheim, Miesau, Gruenstadt and Germersheim. With responsibility and oversight for infrastructure and services, the garrison functions similar to a city – hence the key to the garrison equivalent.
“We’ve developed strong, enduring and trusted relationships with our community partners with whom we interact throughout the year on a variety of programs and issues,” said Edwards. “From administrative and logistical coordination to mutual efforts in the military, law enforcement and emergency response areas, we absolutely could not do it without Host Nation support – we truly are a team.”
Edwards is the third commander to present the award, but amid the COVID-19 health restrictions, the usual large ceremony at Armstrong’s Club to honor the recipients was replaced by minimally-attended personal visits from Edwards between June 16-30.
Previous “Keys to the Garrison” recipients in 2018 were: Klaus Stumpf, State Ministry for Armed Forces, Mainz; Bernd Alsfasser, Union Community Mayor, Baumholder; Guenther Jung, City Mayor, Baumholder; Sven Stadtrecher, Heidelberg Polizei; Christian Füllert, County Fire Chief, Winnweiler; Norbert Hoebel, LBB Kaiserslautern Director; Andrea Oliver, City of Kaiserslautern Military Liaison; John Constance, Atlantic Akademie and Wilkommen in Rheinland-Pfalz; and Christine Schneider, German-American and International Women’s Club.
The 2016 awardees were: Elena Mazzola, State Ministry for Armed Forces, Mainz; Paul Junker, Kaiserslautern county commissioner; Dr. Klaus Weichel, lord mayor of Kaiserslautern; Col. Fiepko Koolman, Bundeswehr Indirect Fire and Artillery Corps; Gudrun Heß-Schmidt, deputy county commissioner of the Kaiserslautern; Peter Lang, Baumholder district mayor; and Oliver Vollmer, Police Headquarters Westpfalz.