GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Garrison Commander Col. Kevin A. Poole held his first walking town hall in Netzaberg East on Aug. 24. Poole, Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Sebastian A. Camacho, Acting DPW director Robert Kroning and Housing manager Andrea Mueller walked through the housing area to engage with residents to get a better understanding of their housing situation and possible problems.
“I think it is really great that they can come to each housing area and talk to a few people at a time. It’s an improvement from the mass town halls or virtual town halls. It’s already a great step in the right direction” said Sgt. Nicholas Hage, a resident of Netzaberg East who accompanied the group from the start. “It’s great that I can get a face to face with them and actually put my input in.”
“It’s nice to see who our leaders are and put a face to the name,” explained Lourdes Arzola, an army spouse living in Netzaberg. “It was great to see people who can make a difference in our community actually in the community witnessing for themselves what issues are there for us and what can be done to address them and to possibly find ways to solve our problems together.”
During the event residents could talk in-person with the garrison command team and show them the issues in person. Poole and Camacho learned of different problems and discussed concerns with the affected residents, such as the trashing of the recycling area or unsafe trash left on the streets.
Kroning and Mueller supported this event with their expertise, offering insight and discussing possible solutions with the team.
“The event worked very well. The engagement with the garrison commander was fantastic. People were out. Some of them in their yards, some came because of the advertisement. The engagement was right on par of what we were looking for” said Kroning.
Mueller added “People were glad that Col. Poole and Command Sgt. Maj. Camacho were coming out here to talk to them in person. And people came up to us and asked questions and shared their ideas. I think it was a very good turnout.”
Poole was pleased with the outcome of the event as well: “I got a lot of good feedback from some of our tenants that live in Netzaberg East. For the most part I was pleased with the fact that most of our tenants didn’t have any issues. But we will definitely tackle the issues that came up. But other than that I think it was a good event.”
The garrison team was encouraged to keep on doing more events like this. “I see potential for this and I hope it’s done more often,” said Arzola. “I think we have a wonderful community. I feel that if more opportunities are there for us to be involved, more individuals will participate to voice their concerns.”
More walking housing town halls are planned in the future on a monthly basis. During these events Poole will visit the different housing areas within the USAG Bavaria installations, walk through them and discuss issues with residents on site. Residents are encouraged to join.