European edition, Sunday, July 1, 2007

Three American teenagers living in U.S. military communities in Europe have been honored by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the respective military commands as youths of the year.

Mary-Lynn Piper, a 17-year-old from Bitburg, Germany, was selected as the U.S. Air Forces in Europe representative. Ryan Ford from Rota, Spain, grabbed honors as U.S. Navy Europe winner. Lindsey Cole of Schweinfurt, Germany, was U.S. Army Europe’s selection.

Ford was selected to represent Europe in a regional competition in New York. His father, Petty Officer 1st Class A.C. Ford, has been reassigned to Guam and the family could not be reached for comment.

Piper will be a senior at Bitburg High this fall. Her father, Master Sgt. James Piper, is stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base.

She’s been active in Keystone, a youth leadership group, 4-H and YES (Youth Employment Skills) at Spangdahlem since moving to Germany from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona in 2006.

She credited her parents and youth services personnel at Spangdahlem with helping her win the award, which carried a $3,000 scholarship.

“They were very supportive in getting me involved in different programs and making me feel welcome,” she said.

She plans to attend college and medical school and then become a pediatrician in the Air Force.

Cole, who graduated from Würzburg High in June, hopes to become a teacher, according to a news release from Installation Management Command-Europe.

She has been involved in an orphanage gift drive and has coached youth sports, taught Sunday school classes, volunteered at the teen center and represented Schweinfurt on a European teen panel in 2005.

The three won competitions at the base level before going against their peers in the services. Regional winners in the States compete against each other in September for the national winner.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for 40 years.

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