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2008 German Heritage Award Winners
Rafe and Phyllis Ackerman
German-American Day Celebrated
The Jasper Deutscher Verein, Sister Cities of Jasper, Inc., and the Jasper Partnership Commission sponsored a German-American Day Dinner and Program on Monday, October 6th, at the Schnitzelbank Restaurant in Jasper. Over 85 individuals celebrated the occasion.
Virgil Gress, president of the Jasper Deutscher Verein, welcomed all present. He introduced Mayor William J. Schmitt who read the proclamation recognizing
October 6th as German American Day in Jasper.
Dan Gutgsell, president of Sister Cities of Jasper, Inc., introduced the essay winners of the German Heritage in Dubois County essay contest which was held in conjunction with German-American Day. This contest was open to all seniors in the four Dubois County high schools. There were three essay topics. The students chose one of the three topics. They were "What does German heritage mean to me?", "What can we, as the younger generation, do to help maintain and preserve our German heritage?", and "Note local or family German names as they relate to the towns or villages that immigrants came from, the meaning of the family names, relationship to geographic location, occupation, etc." Over 50 entries were received.
The winner from Forest Park Junior Senior High School was Karla Knust and her parents are Greg and Kathy Knust. The winner from Northeast Dubois High School was Josh Gordon. Josh is the son of Greg and Kim Gordon. Amy Schwinghammer was the winner from Southridge High School. Amy is the daughter of Greg and Linda Schwinghammer. The winner from Jasper High School was Drew Kluemper son of Melanie Kluemper and Mike Kluemper.
Each student presented their essay as part of the program of the evening.
Mr. Gutgsell noted that this is the sixth year that German American Bank has sponsored the German Heritage Essay contest and twenty two students have received scholarships totaling $5,500.
Mr. Gutgsell also introduced Mr. Ron Flick. Mr. Flick is a registered architect and has designed numerous homes and buildings including the Jasper Depot and the Jasper Mill which is now under construction. Mr. Flick has coauthored a book of historic photos of Jasper and Huntingburg.
He showed the group pictures of buildings and barns in the Baden and Bavaria areas of
He noted that he is in the process of putting together his second book featuring a collection of old Dubois County pictures and encouraged all present to go through their files and photo albums and look for old pictures of buildings in Dubois County and to contact him. He was presented with a token of appreciation.
Raymie Eckerle, vice-president of The Jasper Partnership Commission, presented the 10th annual German Heritage Award. This award is presented to an individual or group who has contributed generously of their time, talents, or resources in maintaining, improving, or building upon the German roots in Dubois County.
Sister Cities of Jasper and the Jasper Partnership Commission created the award in 1999. The Jasper Deutscher Verein sponsored the award. This recognition is open to all people not just residents of the City of Jasper, who give what they can in order to make a difference. A nomination will recognize the work of those who generously support the German heritage. A committee, consisting of the presidents of the Jasper Deutscher Verein, Sister Cities of Jasper, Inc., and the
Jasper Partnership Commission, judges the nominations and selects the winner.
Mr. Eckerle noted that there were many nominations this year of many deserving people and encouraged all present to continue to nominate persons who deserve
The 2008 German Heritage Award was presented to Rafe and Phyllis Ackerman. Mr. Eckerle noted the many areas that Mr. and Mrs. Ackerman had been active in
supporting the Jasper Deutscher Verein during the Strassenfest, visiting nursing homes to speak the German language, teach sheep head, encouraging young people to get involved with the Jasper Deutscher Verein, and passing on these traits to their children.
They are a true example of people doing things behind the scenes and getting very little recognition. Mr. Ackerman is a past president of the Deutscher Verein and Mrs. Ackerman is a past secretary of the Deutscher Verein.
Mr. Eckerle thanked Lois Kuntz, Mayor Schmitt, Patti Goepfrich, Dan Gutgsell, Matthias Hilger, and Virgil Gress for their coordination in the evening's activities.
Past recipients of the German Heritage Award are Mary Jo Meuser, Claude and Martina Eckert, Dave Buehler, Linus and Sally Lechner, Joe and Irene C. Eckerle, Dan and Linda Wehr, Leo and Lora Lou Eckerle, the late Lowell and Joan Glendening, and Dave and Janet Kluemper.
On behalf of the German American Bank, Jay Baker, Senior Retail Officer, Sharon Burger, Vice President Retail Banking, and Laura Knies, Retail Support, then presented each essay winner with a $250 scholarship and certificate.
Rita Eckerle and Phyllis Ackerman attended the greeting table.
The remainder of the evening was spent socializing.
Dan Hoffman has graciously agreed to conduct our annual Auction of donated items with 100% of the proceeds donated to support the Jasper High School German Student Exchange program. Everyone is encouraged to bring an item or two for this Auction. Please be generous! Items donated in previous years have included baked goods, crafts, furniture, homemade wine, German items, and Holiday items. Be creative - the more variety and quantity of items we have in the Auction, the more funds will be raised to support the Exchange Program. Come prepared to have some fun...and to bid! The Auction will be held at the Jasper VFW.
Members with last names beginning A - P are asked to bring an appetizer and members with last names beginning Q - Z are asked to bring a dessert.
December Deutscher Verein Meeting
The December meeting will be on Thursday, December 18, 2008 and will be our Annual Christmas Party. The Christmas Party will be at the VFW. Fran Johnson will be creating a great meal for us again this year. Make plans to bring in the Christmas Season.
January Deutscher Verein Meeting
The January meeting will be on Thursday, January 15, 2009, at the VFW. As has become our custom, this meeting will be our annual beer and wine tasting/judging gathering. Members are encouraged to bring samples of their beer and wine making for the annual competition. Categories will be judged in Grape Wine, Non-Grape / Other Wines, and Beer. Let's have a great turnout and let us know which beer or wine you feel is the best
See upcoming newsletters for more details!
Winning Essays of the German Heritage Essay Contest Sponsored by German American Bank in conjunction with German- American Day Celebration
Daughter of Greg and Linda Schwinghammer
Southridge High School
All my life, I have been surrounded by the evidence of my proud descent. Both my parents were born of pure-German blood, and I have enjoyed living in a German-dominant area since I was born. Due to this influence, I have always celebrated my German heritage, which greatly influences who I am and embodies a wonderfully rich tradition of family, faith, and community.
My father's intimate family loves to gather and have a good time, with the constant presence of our German heritage influencing our activities. During our annual holiday tree-hopping celebration, the father's pride themselves in their homemade beer and wine. Everyone enjoys eating delicious food, playing games, and laughing with friends. Before the night is over, a lout and spirited chorus of the "Schnitzelbank" is sung by all. The family, additionally, carries on an annual, generations-old tradition of butchering hogs. Grandpa mixes all of the pork, liver, and blood sausage by hand; even with out using a recipe it always turns out delicious. Perhaps the most obvious showing of our proud ancestry took place at my grandparent's 50th Wedding Anniversary. All of the grandchildren danced the polka, a popular German tradition, in honor of Grandpa and Grandma's favorite pastime.
Faith forms another very important aspect of my German heritage. My wonderful parish, St. Henry Catholic Church, was founded in 1862, by a German Community. The first all-English Mass was not said until March 27, 1966; that was only 42 years ago! The large, intricate mission cross that still hands in our church is inscribed with German, and there is nothing more beautiful than hearing "Stile Nacht" sung during the Christmas Eve Mass.
The German influence on my community is evident in our annual Heindrichsdorf Fest (Heindrichsdorf literally means "Henry's Town" in German). Everyone in our tiny town works hard to prepare for the two-day celebration, and each person has their own duty. My Grandpa makes his secret barbeque sauce, the Christian Mothers bake delectable pies, and the 4-H Club provides games for the kids. All of our hard work pays off when people come from miles around to enjoy the German specialties of good, fellowship, polka, and beer.
German heritage is more than just ancient history to me. It is an amazing way of life that has taught me so much; love for my family, devotion to my faith, hard work, and the importance of helping in my community. I am extremely proud to celebrate my German heritage, because it has made me the person I am today.
Son of Greg and Kim Gordon
Northeast Dubois High School
Even though I do not have German descendants, I cannot help but appreciate the German heritage that is all around me. Throughout all the years of my life, without even realizing it, I have come to embrace and become a part of German customs. I am exceptionally proud of being a part of the German community that has made Jasper, Indiana, into what it is today.
I will never forget the story of when my grandfather first came to visit my parents in Jasper because it so perfectly defines the German heritage and pride customs that exist in Jasper. At that time, my grandfather was Vice President and General Manager of the Chicago Bottling Company, and therefore had the privilege of traveling the world many times. As my parents and grandparents drove through Jasper early one Sunday morning, my grandfather could not help but notice several people outside of their homes sweeping their sidewalks and driveways. Without knowing Jasper was a German community, he told my family that he had never seen people sweeping their sidewalks and driveways except for in
Besides pride, work ethic is another trait that sticks out in my mind about the German community in which I live. In Jasper, and some surrounding towns, it sometimes seems as if a person cannot work too much. No matter what occupation the people of Jasper have, they take much pride in their work, and to my amazement, many people who are of German descent have two jobs. A friend of my family, Dallas Knies, does just that, works a full time job at Jasper Engines and Transmissions, and has a successful business on the side. I have been in awe of people like him ever since I was young because it was obvious to me the correlation between hard work and success. Jasper has thrived as a small city because of its backbone of hard work, which came from its German heritage. Because I have grown up in Jasper, the German tradition of hard work has been instilled in me. I have learned that hard work will open up many more doors in my future.
I am so blessed to have been raised in a magnificent city such as Jasper, and much of my gratefulness goes to the German heritage that has made Jasper into what it is today. Although I have not come from German descendants, much of whom I am deals with the German heritage around me. Because of the German traditions of Jasper, I feel truly at home in this German community.
Daughter of Greg and Kathy Knust
Forest Park Jr. Sr. High School
When the Sand Runs Out
As I walk into my Grandma's home, I take in a whiff of her famous German Kuga. The sweet aroma of her cooking fills the air. I glace over at my Grandma, wearing a work cooking mitt, and note that her hair seems to have a bit more silver shine to it. Suddenly, a sense of foreboding fills my heart. I realize that Grandma's cooking will not last forever. Eventually the day will come when that sweet smell will only be a pleasant memory. With that thought in mind, I gaze into my grandma's compassionate eyes and gently ask her, "Grandma, will you show me how to make your delicious Kuga?"
German traditions surround us every day. If we take the time to notice, we will see German heritage in our towns, schools, and even our own homes. However, time will take its toll, and eventually the sand in the hourglass will run out. There are countless ways to preserve our family history - our German heritage. Whether it is baking Kuga, celebrating St. Nick's Day, cooking bratwursts, or attending the annual Strassenfest, it is important that we keep our history alive.
Germans have always been known to have strong ties with their families. What better time to be with family than during the Christmas season? Every year, on the night of December sixth, a "man" known as Saint Nicholas visits the homes of German families. Similar to the Santa Claus that we all know and love, Saint Nicholas leaves children surprise treats. However, because he leaves them in shoes or boots, a Christmas tree is not necessary. One can only imagine the excitement the children feel when they wake up early the next morning finding their shoes overstuffed with cookies and candies as smiles creep across their little faces. The warm, heart-felt feels the families experience that morning are truly remarkable.
Although Saint Nicholas Day can leave indescribable feelings, the annual Strassenfest is also a time to make countless memories. Beyond doubt, only the Strassenfest, celebrated in the beginning of August, can bring the true feeling of German heritage right here to Dubois County. As people, young and old, begin to gather in their genuine German clothing, scenes of dancing, singing, and laughter can be seen and heard from miles around. No one can resist the sensational feeling of sinking their teeth into a freshly grilled bratwurst. The spirit of the festival brings out a wonderful opportunity to meet new people or renew old friendships, all while experiencing the joy of German tradition.
The traditions mentioned only touch the surface of the possible ways to continue German customs long after relatives have passed on. By preserving precious memories, we will be able to pass them down for years to come. For some of our relatives, the hour glass has only a few grains of sand left. It is up to future generations to maintain traditions and heritage. As for now, I am going to enjoy a slice of Grandma's delicious Kuga.
Son of Melanie Kluemper and Mike Kluemper
Jasper High School
The local generation can do plenty of things to preserve our German heritage. We already have a German exchange every other year which bring students from our sister city, Pfaffenweiler, to Jasper and vice-versa. This expands the kids' minds in a large way. I personally went on the exchange in 2007 and it was a life learning experience for me. I am extremely glad that I went and would encourage the teachers and coordinators to do more to advocate this program, along with the German language program at the school. This year, 24 kids signed up to take German 1. In previous years, this number has been less than 15.
Another thing that would help revive our heritage would be a German day or German week. It would be similar to Strassenfest, but at a different time of the year. It would include school events and pep rallies, along with a festival, outdoor activities, along with many other things. The addition of more traditional German restaurants and German shops would increase tourist and generate more revenue for the county's economy.
With both of these things, along with more promotion for the current programs, our German heritage can be preserved and furthered. It is important to not loose sight of where we came from, as it will help us know where we are headed. Our German heritage is a very important part of our past that needs to be preserved and not lost.
Address Changes for Newsletters - Also for "Snowbirds" With Temporary Address Change
If a member has an address change, even a temporary change, please notify Rita Egler at P. O. Box 15, Jasper, IN 47547-0015 or call her at 634-9068. Let her know the dates of the temporary change and she will work with you so that you don't miss any issues of our newsletter.
Any help you can give in maintaining postage costs is appreciated!!!!
Also, beginning with the last issue of the newsletter, the expiration date of your dues is listed on the mailing label. Please note this date on your calendar.
Fund Raising Information on the JHS Student Exchange Program
Members of the JHS German Exchange Program are selling Advent Calendars for $4.00 each. You may purchase them from Erin Doboze by calling 812-482-6050, purchase them from any student beginning October 28th, or purchase them at the auction on November 20th.
Jeff and Lisa Mann will again donate a 1/2 of hog for the upcoming auction. The value of the donation is $150.00. The Mann's will pay for the processing of the hog.
T-Shirts, Aprons, German-American Flag Sets, German Flags, Tote Bags, Etc. Sale Continues
The 2008 Strassenfest T-Shirts, as well as T-Shirts, Tote bags, German-American Flag sets, German Flags, and Aprons continue to be available for sale at Elements of Design in
News From Our Own Indiana
Poet Laureate Norb Krapf
On Sunday, November 2, 3:30 p.m., Norb and pianist-composer Monika Herzig, along with her husband on bass, will perform poems from their CD Imagine - Indiana in Music and Words at the Jasper Civic Auditorium at 3:30. Norb will also read some of his Indiana poems solo. A reception and signing will follow. For more info, visit http://www.jasperindiana.gov/pages.php?departmentid=365.
News from the Dubois County Visitors Center
Southern Indiana's Dubois County Hosts Olde World Christmas Events
Southern Indiana's Dubois County is pleased to welcome guests to its annual "Olde World Christmas". Sponsored in part by the Dubois County Visitors Center, this series of traditional olde world events takes place in the towns of Huntingburg, Ferdinand, and Jasper on November 7-9, November 15-16, and December 5-7 respectively. Special holiday lodging packages are available at area hotels and B&Bs.
The Olde World Christmas experience begins with a stroll into the past at the 23rd annual Huntingburg Christmas Stroll November 7-9. Visitors will delight in holiday home tours, carriage rides, and dozens of decorated antique and specialty shops along Huntingburg's 4th Street Shopping District. Pictures with Santa, lively carolers, and the ever-popular cookie walk round out the wonderful Christmas weekend!
Guests are invited to take a step back in time with a visit to the Ferdinand Christkindlmarkt on November 15-16. A festival-like setting where Christmas gifts and wares are sold, this event mimics German customs from the 14th century. New to this year's event is the "Holiday Cabaret on Strings" marionette theatre and the Markt Bier Stube, where two Indiana microbreweries and a local winery will have their drinks for sampling, the Rhein Valley Brass Band will entertain with German songs, and food will be served by the renowned Schnitzelbank restaurant. Other major highlights include a special Friday night appearance by the Christkindl Angel, followed by dinner with music (reservations required for the dinner), seasonal concert by Stillpoint and Sisters of St. Benedict, "Lights on the Grotto" display, live Glockenspiel performances and the well-known markts, featuring lavishly decorated booths filled with Christmas wares, antiques, delicious foods, and live entertainment. Visitors will also enjoy visits with Sankt Nikolaus, a mass with German Hymns, and free tours of Monastery Immaculate Conception, home to one of the nation's largest communities of Benedictine women.
The colossal, lighted Christmas tree in the center of downtown Jasper welcomes shoppers to the O'Tannenbaum Days celebration December 5-7. Guests will enjoy unique shopping, carolers, visits with Santa, free carriage rides, two church bazaars and cookie walks. Special performances include the Annie Moses Band Christmas Show at Jasper Arts Center and the Celebration Singers at the Dubois County Museum. Features include gingerbread cookie decorating, demonstrations by skilled artists and artisans inside the shops and tours of St. Joseph Church, an 1880 Romanesque, olde world-style church listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information, including a free brochure on specific events and hotel packages, and a complete list of events and times, please go to www.visitduboiscounty.com or contact the Dubois County Visitors Center at 800-968-4578.
At this time of Thanksgiving, let us remember the less fortunate of our communities. This would be a great time to make a donation to any organization helping those in need in our communities!!!! Your generosity will be appreciated!!
Matthias Hilger sampling pretzels along with Picnic Committee members, Nancy Burton, Harry Guensche, Joe Wanninger, and LaVerne Kieffner.,
Endowments at the
Dubois County Community Foundation
Jasper Deutscher Verein (German Club)
German Heritage Endowment
A donor-advised endowment to benefit generations in ensuring that our German heritage is preserved and enriched in Jasper and Dubois County.
Claude and Martina Eckert
Sister Cities Endowment
A designated endowment to provide support to Sister Cities of Jasper, Inc. to support the Jasper/Pfaffenweiler relationship.
A gift to the Jasper Deutscher Verein (German Club) German Heritage Endowment or to the Claude and Martina Eckert Sister Cities Endowment is a wonderful way to remember that special someone. A gift in honor of someone or in memory of someone may be given. The Dubois County Community Foundation will send a letter of acknowledgment to the individual being honored or to the family of someone being remembered. Send your gift along with the appropriate information to the Dubois County Community Foundation, P. O. Box 269, Jasper, IN 47547-0269. Envelopes are also available at the greeting table at each club meeting.
Enclosed is my gift of $__________________________
(Please specify appropriate Endowment)
I want my gift to be in memory of / in honor of:
Please acknowledge my gift to: