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February 18, 2014
Ms. Bianca Sowders (IMCOM)

ANSBACH, Germany (Feb. 18, 2014) -- After nine months of planning and growing, German-American friendship in the greater Ansbach area has an official club and a new name: Outreach-KONTAKT Franken.

At the first official election night Feb. 4, 2014, 45 members of the Outreach-KONTAKT Stammtisch groups of Ansbach and Herrieden gathered in the Ansbach location to register as members and officially found the German-American friendship club Outreach-KONTAKT Franken. Much discussion preceded the decisions on official name and membership fees, but the group was able to find a consensus.

Outreach-KONTAKT is a German-American friendship program open to everyone. The community outreach program gives American Soldiers, Family members and civilians an opportunity to learn about Germany and understand its culture alongside Germans and citizens of other countries. It serves as a bridge to overcome cultural differences and make new friends. Outreach-KONTAKT club members are good will ambassadors for both the United States and Germany. The program is U.S. Army-Europe's only regulatory outreach community relations program and connects the U.S. Army to the local populace in current, enduring, and former USAREUR communities.

A full board of officers was elected in Ansbach to lead the new club; the board will gather for a first planning meeting soon to schedule the way ahead. The newly elected chairpersons are Dennis Gardner, a store manager, as German president; Jesse Alcock, company commander for 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, as international president; Adrienne Smith, military spouse and aspiring artist, as international vice president; and Michael Bergner, information technology specialist for the Bavarian state administration, as German vice president. The other board members include Florian Zeilinger as treasurer, Johanna Serban as secretary, and Andrea Gilch, Bryan Gatchell, Jessica Sowders and Stefanie Bohl as members-at-large.

"We are all new at this, and we'll grow with the challenges, so please be patient with us as we learn," said Gardner after his election to president. "But I know this will be a great club, and I am really excited about this opportunity."

The new Outreach-KONTAKT Franken will continue to host two regular Stammtisch meetings a month, one on the first Tuesday of the month in Ansbach and one on the third Tuesday in Herrieden. The club is looking forward to meeting new people and getting them involved with the club activities. Interested community members are welcome to join them for an informal get-together called Stammtisch to find out more about the events and activities and meet new friends in a casual and friendly environment.

To learn more about the club and its ongoing activities and meeting places, visit or for regular updates.

For more details about the Outreach-KONTAKT program, call the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach Public Affairs Office at 09811-83-7786 or DSN 468-7786.