Members of the garrison’s Directorate of Emergency Services hosted a “Thank You Wounded Warriors” luncheon June 14 at the USO Warrior Center on Wilson Barracks.
The free event was held to honor the ongoing sacrifices of U.S. military members serving around the world and to also mark another special occasion.
“We’re celebrating No. 1 the U.S. Army’s 238th birthday and our wounded warriors today. We want to give them something back for everything that they do for us every day. It’s a day for us to say thank you,” said Hans Zoske, DES Fire Department Kaiserslautern.
This is Zoske’s fourth time hosting this type of event for service members at the USO and this one was the largest he’s ever done. The 20-year fire department veteran spent months organizing every detail down to the chocolate and vanilla frosted cupcakes guests munched on to celebrate the Army’s birthday.
“I started off cooking some pizzas for the Soldiers, and it just grew on me. I met the right people at the right place, and we were able to work together to do even more for the service members. It keeps getting larger and larger,” he said.
Lines of service members, families and community members stood in line to pile their plates high with goulash and noodles, assorted salads and German pastries prepared by members of a German army reserve unit. Guests also
received goodie bags, T-shirts and other prizes.
“It’s pretty nice. I’ve only been here two days, but they’ve really been great, especially everyone at the USO. This event is another bonus,” said Sgt. 1st Class Edgar Cervandes. Cervandes is stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia with the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment. “Especially being overseas, it’s nice to be here with others to celebrate holidays and special occasions like the Army birthday. We appreciate it.”
Dawn Rysavy manages the USO Warrior center.
“I think events like these make a great difference,” Rysavy said. “When service members come here they are looking for a home away from home. I don’t think they realize how much the local community thinks of them. We are so honored to have them here and doing what they are doing for the country. That speaks for itself.”
The event also featured music from the U.S. Air Force band, an Army cake cutting ceremony led by members of the 21st Theater Support Command Saber Drill and Ceremony Team and an autograph signing from Miss Rheinland-Pfalz 2013 Sabine Graf.
Zoske said he plans to host another event soon, but he has not settled on an exact date yet.
Organizations or units interested in hosting their own event can contact the Landstuhl USO center at 06371-802-4900 for more information. The facility is located in Bldg. 3759 and is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.