Skip to main content

2019 Council of 1000 Award and Fundraising Gala

Cocktail Reception


Cocktail Reception

Four GAHF Members Honored at 33rd Annual Council of 1000 Award and Fundraising Gala in Philadelphia

For more than 30 years, GAHF has been honoring deserving German-American men and women for leadership and achievements in business, the arts, education, science, politics, and society. Past candidates have included famous entrepreneurs and even celebrities, but in 2019, the Board of Directors chose to present four of its own members with the 2019 Distinguished German-American of the Year™ award:

  • Erich Ast of Pennsylvania who embodies the American dream as an immigrant, a successful businessman, philanthropist and volunteer
  • Frederick H.W. Hansen of New York, a co-signer of GAHF’s charter documents and dedicated fundraiser for Hockemeyer Hall
  • Helmut Krüger of New Jersey, a GAHF founding member who served as president for 13 years and helped pass a bill for German-American Day and the German-American Friendship Garden
  • Hank Stoffel of California, a long-time board member, tireless regional representative for Northern California, and retired pilot who stands for discipline, dedication and hard work

Together these men have given decades of service and time, as well as generous financial support, to the German-American community in general and GAHF in particular. The chosen venue, the historic German Society of Pennsylvania, which was founded before the creation of the United States, was the perfect location to showcase the deep German-American roots of the four honorees. Guests were welcomed in the grand Horner Library on the top floor of the building with sparkling wine, an open bar, and an assortment of passed hors d’oeuvres. For many, it was a chance to reconnect and get caught up with old friends, while others met for the very first time.

Some of the guests of honor were accompanied by family and friends; Hank Stoffel, who could not participate in person, and his wife were connected to the dinner and celebration in the Barthelmes Ballroom via Skype. Dressed up and visibly delighted, Hank and Dory cheerfully returned the congratulatory smiles and waves coming from the assembled crowd in the ballroom. Board President John Manoyan and Treasurer Hardy von Auenmueller greeted the guests. A well-known Pennsylvania-based dance orchestra played the national anthems before guests took their seats to enjoy a three-course autumn-inspired dinner. Unlike the events in previous years, the 2019 gala featured a spacious dance floor, and many couples took advantage of the music to take a spin.

After dinner and an initial round of dancing, it was time for the award presentation. All four award recipients received a beautiful trophy and a personalized certificate from President Manoyan for their dedication to GAHF, in Fred Hansen’s and Helmut Krüger’s case this service goes back to the founding and chartering days of the 1970s, and their role model function for the wider German-American community. With an immigration history dating back to the early 1600s, German-Americans are one of the oldest and the largest ethnic group in the United States with many accomplished individuals. However, historic events and the passage of time have also ensured an effective assimilation process that often makes German-Americans virtually invisible. The positive effects of having role models that embody German-American values while contributing to the wider society are invaluable to promote the many contributions made by members of our community. A special thank you also goes to Gary Koerner, a native Pennsylvanian, German-American, and generous supporter of GAHF.

Guests also had a chance to place a bid for the many wonderful silent auction items. You can still acquire a limited-edition, numbered print, offered by honoree Helmut Krüger, featuring the Brandenburg Gate with the lighthouses of Kennebunkport in Maine and Dornbusch, near Stettin, now a part of Poland. The painting was created by renowned maritime artist and Detroit native Leo Kuschel. The price is $100 per print plus shipping and handling. Also available are two weekend stays at the historic Dargavel House B&B near Charlottesville, Virginia and at Apple Haven Farm in the heart of Pennsylvania’s fruit belt for $300 each. Please contact Katja Sipple at 202-467-5000 or [email protected] if you are interested in making a purchase.

Gala Program 2019

Barthelmes Ballroom

Hardy v. Auenmueller & Susan King Manoyan

Guests in Barthelmes Ballroom

Award Ceremony

Award Ceremony

Honorees Erich Ast, Fred Hansen, and Helmut Krüger

Hank Stoffel joined via Skype

Dancing Couples