HESSEN, Germany - Ten U.S. Soldiers and civilians were among a host of men and women honored by Hessen Minister President Roland Koch at a special ceremony in Butzbach, Germany.

Col. James Shumway, 1st Armored Division; Chaplain (Capt.) Raymond Folsom (represented by Chaplain [Lt. Col.] Barbara Sherer), 3rd Corps Support Command; Bruce Carson, Defense Supply Center Philadelphia-Europe Region (Mainz-Kastel); Jackie Nibbelink of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Darmstadt; and 501st Military Police Company members Spc. David A. Smith, Sgt. Harry Williams, Spc. Aubrey Grimes, Sgt. Matthew Misiano, Sgt. Joseph Shannonhouse and Spc. Kimberly Carroll (represented by her husband, Spc. Jonathan Carroll) received certificates and community gifts from the Hessen leader in recognition of their quality-of-life and lifesaving efforts.

The men and women were singled out for contributions ranging from German-American sports club involvement to rendering first-aid after German citizens suffered an injury or illness. Other special citations included contributions to community quality of life and humanitarian goodwill efforts downrange.

During remarks at the ceremony, the minister president thanked all of the gathered for going above and beyond their daily duties to get personally involved - "people who stepped up in the moment of need."

"You should know we are very thankful for your engagement," Koch said, "and I hope there will be many more in the future who will follow your example."

The German state leader also referred to the many men and women - both Americans and Germans - from Hessen who have risked their lives to defend freedom and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. He asked members of the crowd to remember those Soldiers based here who have been killed in the line of duty.

"The state of Hessen is very proud to have hosted the American forces now for more than 60 years. ... Freedom and democracy for the Federal Republic of Germany was only possible because the U.S. forces were willing to be stationed here for such a long time," he said, adding that Americans who lived alongside their German neighbors are part of Hessen's history.

(Karl Weisel is a member of the USAG Hessen Public Affairs Office)