NATO Music Festival Foundations donates to charity organizations

The board of managers at the NATO Music Festival Foundation met representatives of non-profit associations April 19 at the disaster grounds of the Kaiserslautern Rescue Dog Group to hand over donations to charitable organizations.

The hosts and their helpers on four legs had organized a small reception to welcome the two foundation board managers, Kaiserslautern Deputy Mayor Dr. Susanne Wimmer-Leonhardt and Col. Harry H. Schnell, senior German officer at NATO’s Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein, and the representatives of receiving organizations.

In her introductory remarks, Dr. Wimmer-Leonhardt said, “Making the donation was a very pleasant task. I think it is outstanding that so many musicians volunteer to perform at the festival and forgo their fees, which allows us to continue fulfilling the good cause via this foundation.”

Colonel Schnell also used this occasion to promote the event. After all, the more visitors are attracted to the NATO Music Festival at the Betzenberg in Kaiserslautern, the more funds are available for donations.

“Even those who are no fans of military music should definitely join us on June 11,” Colonel Schnell said. Like in previous years, the Bundeswehr will be represented by a drill team from the Guard Battalion who are going to demonstrate a perfect show of military drills. Finally, the famous German vocalist Joy Fleming will put on a show with a military ensemble from Luxembourg, Colonel Schnell said.

After this short introduction, donation certificates were handed over. An amount of €2,500 was awarded to an organization for sick children to establish a care unit for siblings; €1,200 and €1,000 respectively, were donated to the sponsor groups of Kurpfalz secondary school and Erlenbach primary school to ensure a lunch service for children from families in need. The city of Kaiserslautern department for youth and sports received a total amount of €5,000 to fund vacation projects for children from low-income or socially disadvantaged families. The day care unit for dementia patients received a donation of €2,000 in order to keep up their in-house music therapy project. The Scout association was awarded €2,500 for purchasing a trailer for their outdoor equipment, and the St. Christophorus house for the homeless received €2,000 to set up an in-house cafe. Eventually, the hosts were awarded €2,500 for the further extension of their disaster ground.

“We are using big concrete tubes to create an underground labyrinth covered with debris and rubble to simulate a collapsed building,” said Isolde Heinemann, deputy chairwoman of the Rescue Dog Group. “This will enable us to do our own training for disaster rescue dogs here at Kaiserslautern. Hopefully, the site will be completed by the end of the year.”

When the handover of certificates was completed it was the great moment for Nala, Abu and Sam. Together with their handlers, the three rescue dogs demonstrated how they locate missing persons and negotiate an obstacle course. Ilona Aull, the chairwoman of the Kaiserslautern Rescue Dog Group, then explained the procedure for searching and rescuing people in distress. Specifically, she pointed out that the group was in dire need of search team helpers.

“As the dog handler is busy with his or her dog during the search, we need an assistant for each search team who maintains radio contact with the operations centre. These assistants also use GPS or a map and a compass to track the current position to avoid leaving the search sector or searching a sector for the second time,” Mrs. Aull said.

At the end of the demonstration, the two members of the board of managers thanked their hosts and wished the charity organization all the best of luck for their various benevolent projects.

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(Courtesy of Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein Public Affairs)