Kettering’s direct connection to Europe

KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) — The city of Kettering in Montgomery County has a direct connection to two European countries.

Kettering, Montgomery County, is sister cities with Steyr, Austria and Kettering, England. Al Fullenkamp, chairman of the Kettering Sister Cites Board, says the program allows relationships to be created through social and cultural interactions across the world.

While the Austrian city is “very active” in the partnership, Fullenkamp says the England city isn’t currently active, but remains a sister city.

“Kettering, England, recently went under a massive governmental change where they consolidated government to that area,” said Fullenkamp. “So they’re still trying to find their feet. We basically ask if they continue wanted to continue to be sister cities and they say yes, but they need some time to work things out.”

For 43 consecutive years, students from Kettering, Montgomery County visited Steyr and vice versa until the pandemic in 2020.

“Back 50 years ago, people were writing letters to each other, which is probably a lost art and trying to keep in contact that way,” said Fullenkamp.

In 2023, a group of students and adults from Kettering, Montgomery County visited Steyr to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the sisterhood, which actually was supposed to be in 2020.

“The language barrier was very large back then. Now it’s such that prior to a visit, these students have the opportunity to FaceTime one another, speak to others typically in English, since that’s English, it’s pretty much become a worldwide language and they get to know each other actually before they meet in person.”

Fullenkamp told 2 NEWS that while the partnership is good, he’d like to see it expand to potential economic development, which would strengthen business ties between the countries.

On June 26 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., the group is holding Spass Nacht 2024 at Fraze Pavilion. At the event, the organization will be collecting funds to offset the costs for student exchange trips.

To volunteer at the event, send an email to Fullenkamp.

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