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Lompoc valley hospitality at Vandenberg

Airmen receive food as the line progresses at a military appreciation barbeque, Sept. 19, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The barbeque, sponsored by the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce, has been held annually for several years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Robert J. Volio/Released)

Airmen receive food as the line progresses at a military appreciation barbeque, Sept. 19, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The barbeque, sponsored by the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce, has been held annually for several years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Robert J. Volio/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce sponsored a military appreciation barbeque for all service members here, Sept. 19.

The event was organized by the military affairs committee of Lompoc and has been a yearly occurrence for several years. The barbeque was prepared by the Noncommissioned Officers Association with the First Sergeants' Council providing logistics support.

Throughout many cultures across the globe, the offering of food is an act of hospitality and welcoming. In Lompoc County, that custom is no different.

"This is the first place I have ever been to where the community has done anything like this," said Master Sgt. Darin Wilt, 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron 1st Sgt. "It is really nice and really unique. It shows they care, and they are appreciative of us."

Involvement with the base has always been important to the Lompoc community, and since VAFB has such a drastic effect on the surrounding communities, fostering good relations is more than just a courtesy, it is a necessity, said Sylvia King, chairperson of the military affairs committee of Lompoc.

"This is their way of reaching out and saying, 'hey we appreciate what you do,'" said Wilt.

This event however, is not only beneficial for the base. The community members who donated time and money to bring this to fruition look forward to showing their gratitude, and forming community ties.

"It's something we all really look forward to," said King. "We love the interaction with the people on base."

With every new duty station there are new people with different cultural and social customs, but something as simple as barbeque can serve to bridge those gaps.

"The people of Lompoc aren't any different than I am," said Wilt. "You just need to find those commonalities, and go from there."