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Building Houses, Building friendships

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The judges of the gingerbread competition gather around to tally up the scores and review their decisions at the Eclipse Cyber Café on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, December 6, 2017. Events like these give leadership a chance to come out and get to know their Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Alexis Christian)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The judges of the gingerbread competition gather around to tally up the scores and review their decisions at the Eclipse Cyber Café on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, December 6, 2017. Events like these give leadership a chance to come out and get to know their Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Alexis Christian)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Col. Eric Dorminey, 21st Space Wing vice commander closely inspects one of the entries in the gingerbread competition at the Eclipse Cyber Café on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, December 6, 2017. Entries had a wide variety of gingerbread creations including houses, villages, trains, and planes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Alexis Christian)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Col. Eric Dorminey, 21st Space Wing vice commander closely inspects one of the entries in the gingerbread competition at the Eclipse Cyber Café on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, December 6, 2017. Entries had a wide variety of gingerbread creations including houses, villages, trains, and planes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Alexis Christian)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.— A group of Airmen work diligently on their house in the last ten minutes of the gingerbread competition at the Eclipse Cyber Café on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, December 6, 2017. Little did these Airmen know that they would be the winners of this competition. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman First Class Alexis Christian)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — A group of Airmen work diligently on their house in the last ten minutes of the gingerbread competition at the Eclipse Cyber Café on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, December 6, 2017. Little did these Airmen know that they would be the winners of this competition. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman First Class Alexis Christian)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – -- Airmen from around Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, gathered to participate in a gingerbread building competition at the Eclipse Cyber Café, Dec. 6, 2017.

“We do these quarterly events just to get the Airmen involved and out of their dorms,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Joshua Flynn, 21st Space Wing Chapel. “It gives them a chance to come out and have some fun.”

During the invocation Flynn described how the holiday season can bring a range of emotions for everyone. Events like this one are put together to encourage camaraderie and give Airmen something different to do in the dorms. Although this event was mainly for the single Airmen living in the dorms, the event was open for all active duty to attend.

“There were so many people that came back because they’ve been a part of this in the past,” said Flynn. “The last three years have been a pretty good turnout. We usually have about 10 to 12 teams of about two to four people.”

Wing leadership showed up to judge the entries and talk with the teams as they were building their creations.

“This is the third year I’ve come out to judge this, and the creativity and thought that goes into these (gingerbread houses) are always awesome,” said Col. Eric Dorminey, 21st Space Wing vice commander.

Although he enjoys judging the entries each years, Dorminey is more interested in the Airmen creating them.

“A good day for me is when I get to hang out with Airmen and I get to do that tonight,” Dorminey said. “Watching them enjoy each other’s company is always a good thing for me.”

One creation stood out most to the judges. Entry number six, nicknamed “The Murder House,”was created by three Airmen who took an unfortunate mishap and turned it into the winner.

“In the beginning we ended up popping the icing (bag) and we couldn’t really do much with it,’ said Airman 1st Class Seth Williams, 561st Network Operations Squadron, infrastructure technician. “All the walls kept falling, so I figured if it looks like something bad happened and it all fits the scene, we would be good. So we made it a murder house.”

The initial idea was adopted quickly and the team made the best out of their situation.

“One team member ended up biting the head off the gingerbread man and I thought, ‘awesome, cool, we can make that work,’” said Williams. “The roof kept falling off so we just shoved some stuff in there to make it look like furniture. That way if it fell off again it just looked like we meant for it to. It was all just a lot of improvising.”

Williams, who comes to the café every Wednesday, didn’t even know this event was happening.

“I just kind of stumbled in here and thought, ‘oh, awesome,’” he said. “I had a blast and the turnout was great. It was a lot of fun. I loved it.”

Dorminey described how events like these offer a great chance for Airmen to get out, meet new people and leadership, and to really see what all the base has to offer.

“Colorado has a lot to offer, the fellowship and friendship of Airmen is part of it,” said Dorminey. “If you don’t come out and take advantage of it, you’re cheating yourself out of an opportunity.”

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