Sister Cities Exchanges
“Bringing the World Together One Friendship at a Time”
2015 Exchange – Delegation returns from sister city keen to grow relationship
In early July, Mayor Todd Steinbrink, his wife, Carla, and son, Clay, were joined by City Manager Wayne Davis and his wife, Kate, former Montgomery Mayor Gary Blomberg and Sister Cities Commission member Jack Wild, as they traveled to Montgomery’s Sister City Neuilly-Plaisance to assist with their inaugural July 4th Celebration. “Week-end de l’Amitie” honored the City of Montgomery and the twinning relationship. Neuilly-Plaisance also dedicated a street in honor of the City of Montgomery, Du Chemin De Montgomery. The event was a huge success and attracted over 100 volunteers, a rare feat in a country not known for volunteerism.
During the four-day visit, the delegation was treated to an American-style July 4th parade complete with Harley-Davidson motorcycles, floats, American-made cars, Jeeps and World War II veterans and reenactors, Uncle Sam on stilts, and the singing of our National Anthem by some of Neuilly-Plaisance’s youngest citizens.
While visiting Neuilly-Plaisance, Mayor Steinbrink and the Montgomery contingent also addressed future exchanges with Mayor Christian Demunyck. They identified opportunities for smaller groups to visit each city every year or every other year. Those exchange opportunities they discussed included youth, older adults and local government officials, giving each contingent the opportunity to experience first-hand programs and events geared towards those groups.
If you have an interest in future exchanges, or joining the Sister Cities Commission to help organize these exchanges, contact Sister Cities Commission staff liaison Matthew Vanderhorst at firstname.lastname@example.org or 792-8323.
2014 Exchange – 19 Delegates from Neuilly-Plaisance Visit Montgomery
During the week of October 12 through October 18, 2014 the City of Montgomery was host to 19 French delegates from Neuilly-Plaisance, France. The delegates included four Deputy Mayors, two Municipal Councilors, a Municipal Advisor, two Deputy General Directors of City Services, an Educational Advisor, Director and Assistant Director of Culture and Events, Principal of Agricultural College, an English professor at the College of Neuilly-Plaisance, an Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Mayor, and the Graveleine family whose 14 year old daughter Madeline has been hosted by the Blomberg family previously. Madeline was honored with a proclamation during the years Bastille Day Celebration.
The exchange delegates visited Sycamore Schools and UC Blue Ash as they participated in tours and conversations about area educational systems. They also learned about programs for our senior population during a visit to Twin Lakes.
2010 Exchange – 14 Delegates from Montgomery Visit Neuilly-Plaisance
On October 12, 2010, fourteen representatives from the community of Montgomery flew to France to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the twinning of the two cities; Montgomery, Ohio, United States of America and Neuilly-Plaisance, France as Sister Cities. The Sister City program is one that “connects the world, one friendship at a time.” The fourteen people extending that hand of friendship included Council member Todd Steinbrink and wife Carla, Marcallene Shockey, Cindy Light, Marcia Scherocman, Kathy Lonneman and husband Tom, Boyann Bedell and husband Jim, Patricia Hartman, and Gary and Ann Blomberg. They were joined by two representatives from Twin Lakes, Jack Wild and Connie Kingsbury.
While there, the group had the chance to experience life in a typical French household by living as guest in the home of a resident of Neuilly-Plaisance. The host city planned for a full week of fun and interaction, paying for all the scheduled activities leaving our representatives to only have to cover their airfare in order to share in this experience.
Upon arrival, the group was treated to lunch and dancing at Chez Gegene, a “guinguette” or dance hall on the banks of the Marne River. Years ago it was customary for residents of Paris to escape the rigors of city life by traveling to towns along the Marne and dance the afternoon away. Over the next several days the group enjoyed sight-seeing. They visited the old Opera House in Paris, Notre Dame, The Louvre, Giverny, the Eiffel Tower, Normandy and attended a reception in their honor in the Senate.
“On our second day of the visit we were scheduled for a tour of Notre-Dame, Eiffel Tower, lunch in a Parisian Brasserie and a visit to Montmartre. At 4:30 PM we boarded our private bus to return to Neuilly-Plaisance to dress in our finest for a “Welcome Cocktail Buffet” at the French Senate. This is an opportunity that most French citizens are not afforded and here we were, Montgomery residents being invited by Mayor/Senator, Christian Demuynck to visit while the discussions for French citizens retirement age were being voted upon. Traffic proved to be an issue and time did not allow for us to change into finery. Instead, we were welcomed by our distinguished hosts in our sight-seeing garb! It was still an unbelievable experience.” – Boyann Bedell.
Many of the group felt the visit to the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville was the most memorable. While at the cemetery, a wreath laying ceremony took place with two different wreaths being placed to represent our French-American friendship. Both national anthems were played. There are more than 9000 white marble tombstones and they all point toward the United States. Marcia Scherocman was particularly moved as one of her uncles had been involved in the initial assault on D-Day. There are four women buried in this cemetery who were nurses during the war. One of them is Elizabeth Richardson, who is from Indiana, and a friend of Montgomery resident, Mary O’Driscoll. The shimmer of the Eiffel Tower and the blooming flowers at Giverny, reminiscent of Monet’s paintings, made this trip memorable, meaningful and delightful.
“Any chance you have to be immersed in the culture of another nation brings about great understanding that can’t be replicated in any other way. Our French hosts were absolutely genuine, matching our friendship with an embrace. You had to have been there!” – Marcallene Shockey.
- During the spring of 2005, teachers from Montgomery and Neuilly-Plaisance elected officials learned about the diversity of the United States school system.
- In 2002, American professors were welcomed in Neuilly-Plaisance to discover the functioning of National Education (school visits, college, high school, college and monuments of Paris).
- In 1999, Neuilly-Plaisance and Montgomery celebrated their 10 years of twinning. A delegation traveled to Montgomery to participate in the anniversary. Municipal politicians and officials from Neuilly-Plaisance studied how a small city in the United States functions. In return, several interns from Montgomery visited Neuilly-Plaisance in October 1999 to compare the organizational structure of the two cities.
- In April 1998, twenty youth soccer players from Neuilly-Plaisance visited Montgomery.
- In 1990, a delegation of elders from Neuilly-Plaisance visited Montgomery.
Montgomery Sister Cities Exchange
April 24, 1992
Neuilly Plaisance Centenary Celebration 26-28 June,1992
Sister City Celebration, Neuilly-Plaisance, France and Montgomery, Ohio July 1990