27th Annual Outreach-KONTAKT recognizes German-American friendships

Aug. 6, 2012

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

Keeping heroes active
Brig. Gen. Michael A. Bills poses for a photograph with Outreach-KONTAKT Vilseck team during the Outreach-KONTAKT banquet in Sonthofen, Germany August 4, 2012. Outreach-KONTAKT has volunteered over 100,000 hours in 2011 through supporting wounded warriors and hosting community events, tours, cookouts and German language classes for their communities.

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- The U.S. Army Europe recognized more than 50 Outreach-KONTAKT club members and groups August 4th during the 27th Annual Outreach-KONTAKT Awards Ceremony in Sonthofen.

"It is about getting out and seeing new places and meeting new people," said Regina Susann, German president of Outreach-KONTAKT Darmstadt. “Many people stay home and watch television or are on the internet when they should be exploring.”

Outreach-KONTAKT is the USAREUR community relations program that connects USAREUR to local communities fostering the opportunity to learn about German culture, with the help of local volunteers. This enables the possibility of overcoming cultural differences and promotes interaction between cultures by sponsoring and supporting community events.

“From organizing festivals to preserving our mutual history, sponsoring language classes and providing refreshments during community activities, Outreach-KONTAKT members help make USAREUR a great place for Soldiers, civilians and their families.”, said Brig. Gen. Michael A. Bills, USAREUR deputy chief of staff for operations. “You will continue to play a vital role as our USAREUR communities goes through the latest force structure changes and base closures.”

Even though the U.S. military facilities in Darmstadt are closed, Americans living in the area are still participating in our KONTAKT group, said Margaret Nazar, Darmstadt KONTAKT member.

"We still receive emails from Soldiers that were stationed in our area and that's special", said Regina.

There are 13 active Outreach-KONTAKT clubs in Germany that give Soldiers, family members and civilians an opportunity to learn about Germany and its culture. In return it also provides information about the American way of life to Germans and citizens of other countries.

Outreach-KONTAKT members volunteered over 100,000 hours in 2011 in support of USAREUR Soldiers, civilians, families, programs and events. The volunteer support ranges from supporting events on military installations like annual Christmas tree lightings, Volksmarches, support to wounded warriors through donations and support to deployment and redeployment ceremonies.

Additional information about Outreach-KONTAKT is available at http://www.eur.army.mil/Kontakt/default.htm

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.