Ramstein Speaker Association gives a toast and three cheers for achieving 60 years

by Madge Kerry, Vice President Public Relations
Ramstein Speakers Association

Consequently, fifty two years after the first unofficial Toastmasters meeting was held in 1905 by Ralph C. Smedley (during his time working for the YMCA in Bloomington, Illinois, USA),  Ramstein Speakers Association was established in 1957 to help people conquer this very fear!  

With meetings taking place every first, second and third Tuesday at 12 p.m. at Southside Chapel on Ramstein Air Base, it is now one of the oldest chartered clubs in Europe and steadily continues to grow as it prepares to celebrate its 60th Club Anniversary in June 2017.        

As a private, non-profit, self-sustaining, special interest group, it has served (and continues to serve), the public speaking professional needs of literally hundreds of Air Force, Army and other branches of the United States of America, military personnel.   

Soldiers and their spouses, family members and Department of Defense civilians have all passed through the portals of Ramstein Speakers Association — gaining prestigious awards in: communication and Leadership skills, as well as honorary guest speaking opportunities on: club, area, division, district and international speech platforms.   

George Nigro, former member who joined the club 1976 to 2003, and who became an Accredited Speaker in 2004, says "I treasured every minute of it."

He continues, "In 1977 Tim Keck, (who went on to become Toastmasters International President 1999-2000, and who became the first Toastmaster in Europe to achieve the Distinguished Toastmaster Master (DTM) Award, and who was instrumental in establishing the Continental Council for European Toastmasters (CCET)), and I were the only two attendees at a meeting. I said to Tim, should we cancel? Tim said, 'heck no ... I'll be the Toastmaster of the Day and you be the Table Topics Master. I'll be the Speaker, you be the Evaluator and I'll be the General Evaluator' ... and it was a great meeting."

Today Ramstein Speakers Association has over 20 members! At the core of the club's success is its ongoing ability to attract and retain members in an environment of constant transition, as club members frequently ship out for Permanent Change of Duty Station (PCS) or Temporary Duty Station (TDY) obligations. It has seen many soldiers and civilians come and go, birthed and grown, speak and lead with amazing results!  

Longstanding club member Ralph Jones (who was District 27 Governor from 2013-2014), says 'Man, this stuff is good ... My wish for the club is that if there is a Ramstein Air Base, may there always be a Ramstein Toastmasters Club."

So in respectful military toastmaster style, we applaud and salute Ramstein Speakers Association on their 60th Club Anniversary Celebration, as they prepare to sit and dine with past, present and prospective members on June 3 at Hotel-Restaurant Barbarossahof in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The event starts at 6 p.m. 

For further information about the club and/or the 60th anniversary celebration, email VPPR-2442[at]toastmastersclubs[dot]or visit ramstein.toastmastersclubs.org online and Ramstein Toastmasters on Facebook.

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