HEIDELBERG, Germany - The Army recognized 12 recreation programs from garrisons in Europe during the recent National Recreation and Parks Association conference in Indianapolis.

The awards recognize garrisons and individuals that develop and deliver customer-focused programs that address the needs of the Army, said Installation Management Command officials.

The honorees from IMCOM-Europe were:

USAG Garmisch: top arts and crafts; library; recreation center; and sports and fitness programs in the small-garrison category;

USAG Benelux: top entertainment program in the small-garrison category;

USAG Schweinfurt: top auto program in the medium-garrison category;

USAG Vicenza: top entertainment program in the medium-garrison category;

USAG Bamberg: top library program in the medium-garrison category;

USAG Wiesbaden: top outdoor recreation program in the medium-garrison category;

USAG Stuttgart: top entertainment and library programs in the large-garrison category;

USAG Grafenwoehr: top library program in the large-garrison category.

"It's a huge feather in our cap," said Ron Paoletti, manager of USAG Stuttgart community recreation division. "It's great to know we are at the top of our game here in Europe. Even better to know we are setting the standards Army wide."

"I'm very proud of our program," said Kelly Sarles, director of Stuttgart arts and crafts, which includes the Kelley Barracks woodshop, the Robinson Barracks arts and photo studio and Patch Barracks multi-crafts. "We have upbeat people who love to get others involved. They all bring a wide variety of talents to the table."

Alan Buxkemper, director of the Stuttgart entertainment branch on Kelley Barracks, praised the volunteer support from the community that "never fails" to lend a hand both on- and off-stage.

"They make it happen," he said. "They give countless hours."

"We have continuity of staff and it shows," commented Ailien Patail, supervisor of the USAG Garmisch library, which has won the award the last four years. "They are always open to trying new things."

At USAG Schweinfurt, the skills center's five-person team comprises specialists whose efforts blend together for a winning combination, said Tom Woditsch, facility manager.

"I cross-train employees so they can do everything," noted Woditsch, explaining his basic management philosophy.

"Everybody helps each other out," he said, to include customers.

"I think it's our customers," echoed Tim Gittelsohn, assistant manager, when asked what makes the Schweinfurt center the best in the Army. "We're only here because of them."

"We've got the best backing. This is the first place I've ever been where I've gotten everything I've asked for," Woditsch added, referring to support he receives from the business recreation division and garrison.

Besides the garrison-level honors, Friends of Recreation awards went to: Dena Taylor, USAG Stuttgart; Ellen Bentley, USAG Kaiserslautern; Hank Garza, USAG Garmisch; James DiCrocco, USAG Grafenwoehr; Mary Ann La Lave, USAG Ansbach.

(Information supplied by Brandon Beach, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs and Mark Heeter, USAG Schweinfurt Public Affairs)