By Col. Kevin Pies, USAG Bavaria Garrison Chaplain
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — USAG Bavaria community members and religious groups gathered at the new chapel in Netzaberg Feb. 10 for a formal, Valentine’s Day-inspired military ball.
The USAG Bavaria Religious Support Office, Women of the Chapel groups and over 200 community members attended the Sweetheart Banquet ball.
Party-goers showed up in formal attire and were met with refreshing drinks, a superb Bavarian meal, entertainment and an outstanding speaker. The event also provided free child care and a professional photographer.
NFL Legend, Super Bowl XX MLB winner and 1988 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Mike Singletary was the featured speaker. Singletary was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 1981 NFL Draft. He was also known as “Heart of the Defense” for the Chicago Bears’ Monsters in the mid-1980s.
Singletary invited his wife Kim to the platform, and together they shared their story. They discussed the historical challenges and patterns of growth and tenderness in their relationship that provided them tremendous resiliency in the midst of a successful and challenging professional football career.
With similar effectiveness, Singletary also spoke to leaders of 2nd Cavalry Regiment in a “locker room” forum, families at a prayer luncheon in the Rose Barracks Chapel and other military families at the 15th Engineer Ball in Nuremberg.
The evening began with a social hour followed by the introductory portion to the evening program. The Vilseck High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps presented the official flags and members of the Vilseck High School Chorale sang the German and U.S. national anthems.
“Ladies and gentlemen, to the United States of America,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Joseph Effiong, opening the toasts of honor.
“To the United States,” the audience responded.
The attendees also toasted to our host nation, the new U.S. president, the Army, fallen comrades, our warriors, companions, USAG Bavaria and the Chaplain Corps.
Chaplain (Col.) Kevin Pies, the event organizer, welcomed the diverse crowd and pointed out the “new chapel feel.” He repeated what he emphasized a week earlier at the Netzaberg chapel dedication ceremony.
“This chapel is a wonderful gift and has so many energy saving and ministry enhancing features,” Pies said. “It is like the BMW of all chapels.”
Chaplain (Maj.) David Hicks offered the crowd humorous insights, reminding couples how important humor is to keep relationships strong.
Chaplain (Maj.) Kevin Hovan also took time to pray for the community.
Entertainment throughout the evening was provided by another Chicago native, Willetta Carson and Her Jazz Band from Nuremberg. The group regularly performs in churches and events throughout Germany.
Garrison Commander Col. Lance Varney commended and thanked the Religious Support Office, or RSO, the many volunteer decorating teams and the event’s entertainers and speakers for their hard work. He also acknowledged the crowd diversity, which included local members of USAG Bavaria, members of the Hohenfels community and families of partnering mission units. Varney added that the RSO is fulfilling its motto “Community Events Build Community.”
The RSO, which serves all four USAG Bavaria communities, has more community events like the Sweetheart Banquet planned for the future. Stay tuned.