L.A. Berlin Sister City Committee Welcomes Berlin Police Officers - May 2004

Report and photos by Frank Mottek

In May 2004, 25 Berlin Police officers who participated in the annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay Race were warmly welcomed and honored at a dinner reception hosted by the lovely Alpine Village Restaurant in Torrance.

Among them, the Challenge Cup Relay is one of the top law enforcement athletic events in the world and began in 1985. This year, the relay featured 210 teams including four international team entries. Among them the team from L.A.'s sister city Berlin!

L.A. Berlin Sister City Committee Chairperson Rosemarie Reisch joined other dignitaries including Assistant L.A. County Sheriff Larry Waldie, 4th District L.A. City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, and Vice Consul Maria Steinhauser from the German Consulate. Also welcoming the group and wishing them well: L.A. County Sheriff's Captain Todd Rodgers who is also the Mayor of the City of Lakewood, and Johannes Fuchs from Lufthansa German Airlines.

L.A. County Sheriff's Sergeant Hiroshi Yokoyama from the Carson Sheriff's Station worked with police officers from Berlin when he served in Bosnia. When he heard a team from Berlin was coming to L.A. to participate in the Challenge Cup Relay Race, he volunteered to serve as host for the Berlin police officers during their visit.

The leader of the Berlin team, Guido Jüngling, presented Mrs. Reisch, Sergeant Yokoyama, Assistant Sheriff Waldie and representatives of the group's sponsors with special mementos from Berlin including Buddy Bears.

Frank Mottek from KNX Radio and KTLA Channel 5 was the master of ceremonies. His parents are from Berlin and his uncle was a Berlin police officer in the 1960s.

Each member of the team was personally called to the podium to be welcomed, receive a souvenir of their visit and to have a picture taken. Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who is known as L.A.'s unofficial Secretary of State, presented a proclamation to the team.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, L.A. County Sheriff's Sergeant Hiroshi Yokoyama received a thunderous standing ovation for all of his time and effort in volunteering to host the group during their stay in Southern California.

The team from Berlin came in second place among the international teams in the Challenge Cup Relay Race. Despite the grueling competition in the desert's super hot temperatures, they said they will be back next year! And they can look forward to another big welcome!

The L.A. Berlin Sister City Committee extends a big THANK YOU to Sergeant Yokoyama, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, Alpine Village, Lufthansa, the German Consulate and everyone who joined together to make the dinner reception for our visitors from Berlin such an enjoyable and memorable one.