Mayor Arno Jesse linked the introduction of the new year's reception in 2014 with an award ceremony for citizens of the town of Brandis actively engaged in voluntary work. This provides a festive setting for these awards.
The focus is here on the appreciation of volunteer work and togetherness for Brandis. Brandis is a town which is likeable and pleasant to live in. Citizens are keen on getting involved because they can identify with it. The awards are intended to pay tribute to this commitment.
The prize is awarded in the categories "Local history and culture preservation", "Children, youth, sports", "Social commitment" as well as in a "Special category".
Volunteers distinguished in 2015 are:
"Special category": Pastor (retired) Manfred Schiertz
At the time pastor in Brandis, he opened the church upon request of the members of "Neues Forum" for a meeting in the critical month of November 1989. He regularly chaired the "Round Table" in Brandis – 10 January marked the 25th anniversary – and established contact with the partner parish in Hohenhameln.
"Local history and culture preservation": Jens Müller
He provides Kohlenberg-specific tours almost on a monthly basis for guests of the clinic and people who enjoy nature and history and and has done so for almost 20 years. Other destinations of the tours popular among citizen new to Brandis are the nature reserve Polenzwald, the clay pit Reinhild and the "Waldbad". As a local ornithologist, he has also been the district's nature conservation officer for Brandis since 2014.
"Children, youth, sports": Christoph Vogel
He is a member of the youth fire brigade and was actively involved in the preparation and realisation of the youth convention in Brandis.
He is also regularly involved in meetings of the steering group within the project "Jugend bewegt Kommune" (Young people benefiting the community), takes an active part in school activities and does volunteer work outside Brandis grammar school.
"Special category": Erwin Fischer
An all-round "good soul". He unlocks the Chapel of St. Ludwig in Beucha before the service, takes care of the church garden and looks after elderly people in particular. An altruist, he takes them to the doctor in his private car and helps with the shopping. Furthermore, he has been actively involved in the Federation of Expellees and has been a member of its board for more than 50 years.
"Social commitment": Volkssolidarität, Board of the local group Brandis
The biggest local group of our town is actively engaged in the work for senior citizens. Every two weeks they organise events ranging from lectures of the Volkshochschule to fancy dress parties, fashion and satirical shows. Additionally, there are day trips to the Kyffhäuser monument or to wine tastings in the Saale-Unstrut region in the summer break – and all this despite the fact that they all are pensioners themselves.
Volunteers distinguished in 2014 are:
Käte Löhr / Local history and culture preservation
Käte Löhr does not want to steal other people's thunder. The local chronicler has rendered her excellent services to the history of Beucha for many decades. She was awarded the Pin of Honour for this commitment. However, Käte Löhr would like to let the people of Brandis know: She is not the first inhabitant of Brandis to write a chronicle about the town. In fact, she was able to resort to the works of others.
Ina Exner / Children / Youth / Sports
Ina Exner could easily pass as a 50 year old. Young at heart and full of energy, she has encouraged the children of Brandis to participate in gymnastics for over 50 years now. She is coach and judge for SV Stahl Brandis and her commitment goes far beyond gymnastics. Her laudator, 18-year old grammar school student Elisa Kreiß, impressed the audience with a sophisticated and highly emotional thank-you speech.
Almut Franke / Social commitment
Almut Franke teaches English to the elderly - leading native speakers to think they have been speaking it for decades. She has been doing this since 2007 with great motivation and genuine warmth at the nursing home in Bergstraße in Brandis.
Hans-Werner Bärsch / Special category
Hans-Werner Bärsch's numerous activities towards acceptance and care for patients suffering from dementia are unprecedented. After the reunification he helped build the senior centre in Brandis among other things and campaigned for supporting self-help groups for people affected by this condition. He is a renowned advisor, even at international level.
Dr. Ulrich Seidel / Medal for flood relief
Dr. Ulrich Seidel is the pastor of the Brandis parish and this evening he was both award winner and laudator at the same time. He was selflessly there for victims of the June flood 2013 as a emergency pastoral carer in June 2013. He does not want to see himself the centre of attention, but he would like to draw the attention to the great and profound commitment of all the people active in emergency pastoral care.
René Kunath / Medal for flood relief
Mr Kunath's actual responsibilities at the Johanniter ambulance service are in administration. However, during the flood of 2013 he also did operational work, one day working for more than 24 hours without a break. "And what does René Kunath do after work?" He does volunteer work for the Johanniter, he is a "passionate Johanniter!"er!“