Community bonds take root through flower project

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Due to current fiscal hardships and limited resources, the Air Force continues to evaluate base operations to see which carry out the mission and which can be cut.

Despite the reduced funding, community members and private organizations have stepped up to find an alternate means of providing luxuries to the base without using government funds.

Chloe McFall, a junior at Bitburg High School, noticed the base seemed bare from when she moved here last July. She then took it upon herself to organize a flower planting. Students from Bitburg High School involved in the National Honor Society also gave a hand in helping Chloe plant flowers for the community. Chloe sought out the aid from the Officers and Civilians Spouses Club and Spangdahlem Spouses and Enlisted Members Club who provided funding for the event.

Fresh flowers now readily greet the Spangdahlem community as of May 18, 2013.

"I know that the base lost funding from sequestration and they weren't going to be able to plant flowers for the summer," Chloe said. "So, I wanted to have the flowers, because that was the first thing I noticed when I came to this base when I moved here."

Organizations from across the base helped make the flower planting a reality. The 52nd Mission Support Group and its squadrons blocked off roadways to make it safe for the volunteers to move about. Even representatives from the old base green house lent a hand.

Before the base lost some of its funding for beautification purposes, Henry Krones was one of the people who planted flowers for the base. He volunteered his time to show the students how to properly plant the flowers and gave guidance where necessary.

Krones worked in the greenhouse from 2000 to 2012 until the green house was turned over to the Federal Republic of Germany in August 2012. It cost approximately $50,000 for the greenhouse to provide the base with fresh flowers each year.

This is the Saber community, said Col. Joseph McFall, 52nd Fighter Wing vice commander. And the Saber community sticks together when it comes to doing the mission, making the base look better and enjoying the local community.

"It's a special place for sure," McFall said of Spangdahlem's unique beauty.