The Delphos Friendship link
visitors have returned home from a two-week stay in
The group consisting of Rick and Pam Hanser, Ken Rode,
Ken and Quinn Wise, Gene and Mary Youngpeter from
Delphos; Bob and Mary Miller from Landeck; former
Delphos residents Tom and Leann Gordon from Convoy; and
Gerald and Virginia Rode, from Louisville, Ky., returned
home Aug. 8. The group also escorted six German students
who will be attending local schools for part of the
The Delphos entourage got off to a much-delayed start
from the Detroit airport when a computer failure
canceled flights until the following day. Once that
flight arrived in Paris, a connecting flight was missed,
delaying the group for another five hours.
For Pam Hanser, 48 hours without much sleep was tough to
deal with, especially once the group arrived in Berlin
with sightseeing as the first thing on the agenda.
“When we were visiting the Reichstag, their parliament,
I could feel my head nodding during one of the speeches,
and I didn’t want to appear rude,” she said.
During the group’s first week in Germany, they stayed in
hotels and toured various cities, including Berlin,
Potsdam, Hamburg, and Bremen. Berlin was in the midst of
a heat wave, with temperatures in the 90s and only one
of the three hotels they stayed at had air conditioning.
The discomfort was added to because no ice was added to
cold beverages served.
The second week the visitors stayed with host families
in the Verl area and took trips to churches, a brewery,
milk cow farm, a beer garden and a fruit market. The
host families had all formerly visited Delphos.
The tour of the brewery was unusual in that beer was
served at the beginning of the tour.
“First time I’ve had beer at 9 o’clock in the morning,”
commented Rick Hanser.
For Pam Hanser, the amount and quality of food served by
the host families was overwhelming. Breakfast consisted
of several kinds of meat, eggs, breads and cheeses. An
afternoon snack of cake was served at 3 p.m., with the
evening meal beginning at 8 p.m.
“Everything was delicious except for a meat dish that
was covered with a clear gelatin but I ate some to be
polite,” she related.
Rick Hanser, a Delphos city councilman, had the honor of
addressing Verl city council, presenting a short address
signed by Delphos Mayor Jerry Neumeier and council.
Hanser memorized his speech in German so he could
present it in their language.
Fellow traveler Gene Youngpeter was on his sixth trip to
Germany, accompanied with his wife, Mary, who had been
there once before. Gene had been stationed in Berlin in
1952 to 1953 with the U.S. Army and made several trips
to Germany later with Mike Leach from Landeck.
Youngpeter’s great-grandfather was originally from
Belgium and emigrated to Seneca County, Ohio, in 1830 or
1840. His ancestors eventually settled in the Landeck
area because of the Miami-Erie Canal route.
Gene’s younger brother, Frank, struck up a friendship in
high school with a German exchange student, Norbert
Mayr, and the Youngpeters stayed in touch with him when
he returned to Germany.
Gene also established what he calls his own friendship
link with Hans Jurgen Lund through the Delphos program
established in 1999. He, Mayr and Youngpeter all managed,
through one translating for the other, to communicate
over the years.
Youngpeter was a little disappointed in not being able
to tour the church in Hamburg. Due to 7,000 bicyclists
competing in a race, the group was unable to travel near
the church but later were able to visit St. Michels. He
did enjoy the visit to the brewery at Detmolder, one of
only two in Germany that are owned by women.
The travel group was honored on Aug. 6 by riding in the
Schuetzen parade in a horse-drawn wagon. According to
Youngpeter, a schuetzen fest is a shooting competition,
with the winner being required to buy beer for all the
holidays during the following year.
While all the Delphos visitors returned home Aug. 8
tired and weary, they all expressed gratitude in
arriving home before the increased flight security and
delays that went into place Aug. 10.