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Germans Provide Surprise

Reston Interfaith and Children's Hospital receive unexpected donation.

Unsuspecting Reston residents may be surprised there is a Bundeswehr — German armed forces — command on Sunrise Valley Drive. These Germans also surprised Reston Interfaith on Tuesday, presenting the organization with a $2,500 donation.

"The idea was to pick a local charity that is integrated into the community," said Brigadier Gen. Volker Zimmer, Commander of the German Armed Forces Command, United States and Canada. He said Reston Interfaith was selected for the donation because it takes care of people with needs.

"We were surprised. This will make a big difference," said Amanda Andere who received the donation on behalf of Reston Interfaith. "Your support will make a difference in the lives of families who struggle to make a living in this area for whatever reason," she said.

Reston Interfaith was not the only organization surprised with a donation. Children's Hospital Washington, D.C., received a matching $2,500 donation from the German command as well. "We have so many children who need so much help," said Dani Beyda who accepted the check for the hospital. "It was a wonderful surprise, a wonderful gift. We're thrilled." Beyda added that the money would go towards the Kids Care Fund, which helps the hospital provide $55 million of uncompensated care per year.

The German command raised the $5,000 at the first German Christkindl Market, which took place on Dec. 7. The purpose of the event was to bring German Christmas flair to the staff of the German command in Reston and their American friends. During the presentation of the two checks, a slideshow showed pictures of the Dec. 7 event. It showed cakes, cookies, waffles, beer, bratwurst and sauerkraut offered, along with live music in cold weather. Roughly 500 guests from American agencies attended the festivities. "The idea was just to bring good old German Christmas spirit [to Reston]," said Col. Heinz Altmeyer.

"It was a trial, first one to see how it goes," said Zimmer of the event. "I think a lot of people can't help but look forward to the next one," he added. Zimmer said he wishes for the German command to be more integrated in the local neighborhoods. "I want to express my gratitude to the community. We are very well-received here," said Zimmer.