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Airmen create edible art at gingerbread house building contest

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Col. John Shaw, 21st Space Wing commander, as well as other wing leadership judge the completed gingerbread houses at the Chapel sponsored gingerbread house building contest at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All supplies were provided by the Chapel, however many contestants brought extra supplies to support their creativity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Col. John Shaw, 21st Space Wing commander, as well as other wing leadership judge the completed gingerbread houses at the Chapel sponsored gingerbread house building contest at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All supplies were provided by the Chapel, however many contestants brought extra supplies to support their creativity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The winning team, the Eclipse Café team, poses for a photo with their gingerbread house after beating seven other teams in the Chapel sponsored gingerbread house building contest at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The team consisted of Eric Rodman, Eclipse Café barista; Michelle Cruz, Eclipse Café barista; Senior Airman Sergey Buettner, 50th Space Wing Security Forces Squadron; and Senior Airman Justin Cole, 2nd Space Operations Squadron satellite operator. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The winning team, the Eclipse Café team, poses for a photo with their gingerbread house after beating seven other teams in the Chapel sponsored gingerbread house building contest at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The team consisted of Eric Rodman, Eclipse Café barista; Michelle Cruz, Eclipse Café barista; Senior Airman Sergey Buettner, 50th Space Wing Security Forces Squadron; and Senior Airman Justin Cole, 2nd Space Operations Squadron satellite operator. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Andrea Canas, 21st Dental Squadron dental technician, places candies on the roof of her team’s gingerbread house using a chocolate hazelnut spread at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The gingerbread house building contest was another event the Chapel put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All the supplies, including food, drinks, gingerbread house supplies and prizes were all provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Andrea Canas, 21st Dental Squadron dental technician, places candies on the roof of her team’s gingerbread house using a chocolate hazelnut spread at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The gingerbread house building contest was another event the Chapel put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All the supplies, including food, drinks, gingerbread house supplies and prizes were all provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Maricel DaCosta, 21st Communications Squadron, puts the pieces to the roof of her team’s gingerbread house at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The gingerbread house building contest was another event the Chapel put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All the supplies, including food, drinks, gingerbread house supplies and prizes were all provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Maricel DaCosta, 21st Communications Squadron, puts the pieces to the roof of her team’s gingerbread house at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The gingerbread house building contest was another event the Chapel put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All the supplies, including food, drinks, gingerbread house supplies and prizes were all provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – A decorated gingerbread Christmas tree lays ready and waiting to be put in just the right spot at the gingerbread house building contest sponsored by the Chapel at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All supplies were provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – A decorated gingerbread Christmas tree lays ready and waiting to be put in just the right spot at the gingerbread house building contest sponsored by the Chapel at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All supplies were provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. –Airmen 1st Class Andrea Canas (left) and Bridget Gray, 21st Dental Squadron dental technicians, compete in the chaos of the gingerbread house building contest sponsored by the Chapel at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All supplies were provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. –Airmen 1st Class Andrea Canas (left) and Bridget Gray, 21st Dental Squadron dental technicians, compete in the chaos of the gingerbread house building contest sponsored by the Chapel at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All supplies were provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – A team of 21st Communications Squadron cyber transport operation technicians work as a team to put together their gingerbread house for the Chapel sponsored gingerbread house building contest at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on by the Chapel for Airmen to get together and have a good time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – A team of 21st Communications Squadron cyber transport operation technicians work as a team to put together their gingerbread house for the Chapel sponsored gingerbread house building contest at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on by the Chapel for Airmen to get together and have a good time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Wayne Harding, 21st Communications Squadron cyber transportation operations technician, squeezes icing onto a gumdrop before attaching it to his team’s gingerbread house at the Chapel sponsored gingerbread house building contest at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All supplies were provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Wayne Harding, 21st Communications Squadron cyber transportation operations technician, squeezes icing onto a gumdrop before attaching it to his team’s gingerbread house at the Chapel sponsored gingerbread house building contest at the Eclipse Café, Dec. 17, 2014. The contest was another event put on for Airmen to get together and have a good time. All supplies were provided by the Chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Eclipse Café was full of Airmen with their necks bent while working diligently to create something more original than the group next to them. Candy and icing littered the tables and out of chaos came the creativity.

The Chapel sponsored its second annual gingerbread house building contest to provide Airmen with an opportunity to get together and have a little fun while expressing their creative sides.

This year there were eight teams vying for the title of the best gingerbread house. Each team was provided with the same supplies, but some brought their own from home to hopefully give themselves an edge over the others.

"We planned ahead and came prepared," Airman 1st Class Bridget Gray, 21st Dental Squadron dental technician, said as she pulled item after item out of a large grocery bag. Their table was covered in fun-sized candy bars, candy canes, peanut butter, chocolate spread, powdered sugar and more.

Before getting started, 1st Lt. Joshua Flynn, 21st Space Wing chaplain, had a few things for Airmen to think about while building their houses. He told everyone to think about the solid foundation their house would need to be sturdy, just like how core values, beliefs and discipline play a key role in life.

He also compared the four walls of the house to the four Comprehensive Airman Fitness areas - the mental, physical, social and spiritual needs.

"It's like the four walls of a house," Flynn explained. "If one wall is out of whack, there is going to be a problem. We need to make sure we take care of ourselves mentally, physically, socially and especially spiritually."

He laughed when he said they probably didn't think gingerbread houses would tie into their goals and the purpose of life. With that, he started the time clock and let the building commence.

After 45 minutes, a few lopsided gingerbread houses and very messy tables, the completed masterpieces were placed in a row for the judges, consisting of 21st SW leadership, to assess and score using very specific criteria.

"They all look so amazing. It's going to be tough to judge them," Chief Master Sgt. Idalia Peele, 21st SW command chief, said.

In the end, the team from the Eclipse Café received the most points and was named the winner. The team consisted of Eric Rodman, Eclipse Café barista; Michelle Cruz, Eclipse Café barista; Sergey Buettner, 50th Space Wing Security Forces Squadron member; and Justin Cole, 2nd Space Operations Squadron satellite operator.

In the end, members were appreciative of the ideas other teams came up with and may or may not be secretly hiding them in their back pocket to pull out as their own for next year's contest.

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