By Wendy Brown (USAG Wiesbaden)November 6, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany - When Michele Vanella started working for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, coal heated the homes in Crestview Housing.
That was more than 40 years ago, and he would work another 40 if he could, Vanella said shortly after a ceremony honoring garrison employees for the length of service they have worked for the U.S. government Oct. 26.
"I love my job," said Vanella, who is a boiler plant supervisor for the Directorate of Public Works Operation and Maintenance Division. "The families are so nice."
The ceremony honored a total of 47 employees who have worked between five and 45 years for the garrison. Five have 40 years of service and one, Ernst Peter Kusiak, has 45. Kusiak is the Directorate of Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division's chief of the mechanical branch.
"You always have to be on top of it to learn and educate yourself about the field you're in," said Kusiak, who noted he has been honored to work with a lot of good people who have helped him along the way.
IMCOM-Europe Region Director Kathleen Marin and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Hartless, who are in charge of all the garrisons in Europe, were at the ceremony to present the awards, and Col. David H. Carstens, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander, said it was an honor.
"The fact that Ms. Marin has taken time out of her schedule to honor you today is really a tribute to what you do every day as workers in the garrison," Carstens said.
"Ms. Marin is fond of telling everyone in uniform that there is no light that can be turned on, there is no child that can be taken care of, there is no gym class that can be conducted without the help of all of you who are sitting in the audience."
Marin said she was happy to be able to help honor employees who, combined, have put in more than 1,080 years of service.
"I want to thank all of you because each of you made a choice to serve in public service for our Soldiers and family members," Marin said. "You made a choice to invest your life in improving the quality of life for our families who live here in Wiesbaden. I want to thank you for that choice and tell you all that you have made a difference.
"All your service is of great value, and you have made differences in ways sometimes you don't even realize. That will resonate years later when people go back to the United States and they think about their time in Wiesbaden and how you helped make a home for them in Wiesbaden," Marin said.
The garrison also presented Klaus Herbst of the garrison's Transformation Stationing Management Office with a Certificate of Commendation for his exceptional performance Sept. 1-30, 2012 during the closeout of the fiscal year. Herbst also used his electrical engineering expertise during two power outages and numerous questions about phone service in the Newman Village and Aukamm Housing areas.
Several employees with more than 40 years of service said they simply liked performing their jobs.
Terlazzo Smith, who has more than 40 years of federal service, said he spent 24 years in the military and then began working for the Army as a civilian. He works for the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Outdoor Recreation department, where he works as the lead ski and snowboard technician.
Smith said he also helps with a lot of Outdoor Recreation's trips, so he has traveled to places such as Greece, Spain, Austria and many other countries while doing his job. "I just enjoy it," Smith said.
He also liked traveling while in the military, Smith said.
Salvatore Milazzo, who also has more than 40 years of service, said he has always done his best to do his job well and serve the community. Milazzo works for the Directorate of Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division as a heating equipment repairer.
"I'm happy to serve," Milazzo said.