Volksmarch column for the October 1, 2009 edition
Saturday is the annual cystic fibrosis fund-raising day known as Deutschland wander — Deutschland hilft, or, “Germany walks — Germany helps.” Many clubs, in coordination with the DVV, have pledged 95 euro cents from each walker’s 1.50-euro start fee to the German Cystic Fibrosis foundation. One of these walks is in Mölschbach, near Kaiserslautern. So get out and take a walk that is not only healthy for you, but also will improve the health of someone else.
• • •
We hated to miss the Heidelberg walk this year, but we had committed to help our club at a local event. The U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen and the town of Schinnen were celebrating the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the city and the 40th anniversary of the garrison. Part of the many weekend activities was an historical walk through the Schinnen area.
We have mentioned the local youth organization, JIS, and the walks they have put on in previous columns. Margo and her staff laid out a very pleasant walk through Schinnen and the nearby countryside. They arranged for perfect weather and even printed information in English for those who could not read the Dutch signs along the route. The most impressive part of the walk was the beauty of the countryside, considering the coal mining that had taken place in the area. Long gone was the polluted river, replaced by a nice, clean river and pond with plenty of fish, waterfowl and wildflowers.
To Bob, the highlight of the on-post activities was seeing a group of World War II veterans from the 101st Airborne Division. They were in the area to participate in the Operation Market Garden anniversary commemoration. One of the vets told Bob, “We’re going to cross the Waal River again tomorrow, but this time someone else gets to row!”
Mixed in among these Screaming Eagles was James Megellas, the 82nd Airborne’s most-decorated officer from WWII. Bob had met him two years ago when “Maggy” autographed a copy of his book “All the Way to Berlin.” It was a pleasure to see and to talk with him again.
Bob also spent some time with a group of Belgian WWII re-enactors dressed as members of the 82nd Airborne. Their uniforms, vehicles and equipment were in excellent condition. Two re-enactors were women dressed as a WAC officer and a Medical Corps officer.
• • •
We recently received a very nice message from an Army chaplain about to return to the States. We found his note inspiring and motivational as it reinforces many positive aspects of volksmarching. You might have read it as a letter to the editor, but for those who missed it, we’ll summarize it for you. During his five years in Germany, Chaplain (Col.) James M. Brown volksmarched more than 3,000 kilometers. He left with treasured memories of, “both the warm hospitable fellowship and the remarkable beauty of our host nation.” More important, though, is how he found volksmarching an excellent way to relieve stress and rejuvenate spiritually. This was not only true for himself, but for people he ministered to. His closing thought was how volksmarching is the “cheap-cheap way to see Germany.”
We would like to thank the colonel for putting into words what many of us might take for granted. We see volksmarching as a win-win activity, with much to gain for a small investment of time and money.
• • •
There are a couple of walking opportunities for the Kaiserslautern military community volksmarchers this week. Located south of the city, the walk in Mölschbach starts at the Turnhalle. You can walk six and 11 kilometers Saturday and Sunday between 7:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Start the 22-kilometer route between 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Part of the proceeds from this walk go to combat cystic fibrosis.
On Wednesday you can walk in Hahnenbach, near Idar-Oberstein. Start the 5k route from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the 10k between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., and the 20k between 8 a.m. and noon. You must finish by 4 p.m.
• • •Thanks to these awesome people, there were fliers galore for this week’s column. They are: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, John and Evelyn Golembe, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, Tim and Luchi Lynch, John and Patty Marsh, “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson, and Bob Gambert, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry and Nancy Shawley.
Notes about this week’s events:
• Good luck to the Ramstein Roadrunners as they take a busload of walkers to the Dachsenhausen, Germany, volksmarch Saturday, with a follow-on trip to the Boppard wine festival and Rhine in Flames fireworks display.
• The 12- and 21-kilometer trails at San Paolo di Morsano al Tagliamento, Italy, include a boat ride across the Tagliamento River. You might want to take a change of pants, because unless you are in the first boat, you’ll probably end up in a wet seat.
• In the past, the Mussolente, Italy, walk has taken walkers past some WWI trenches. Trees may be growing now, but there is no mistaking the trenches along the hillside.
• The Zanè, Italy, event is a great walk through the hills. Expect a huge turnout; arrive early to get a good parking spot.
• The Friday walk at Sannazzaro de Burgondi, Italy, has a repeatable route. You can walk as many 11-kilometer laps as you want … just be finished by 6 p.m.
• The Circuit of the Castles walk in San Paolo di Appiano, Italy, is another great walk. The longer route takes you by three castles.
E-mail volksmarch information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail brochures to , CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.