NEWS | Sept. 1, 2017

Fellowship over food: Dorm dinner creates sense of community

By Staff Sgt. William A. O’Brien Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The First Sergeants Council and Joint Base Charleston Chaplains Office hosted a dinner for dormitory residents in the courtyard outside the dorms Aug. 30, 2017.

Dorm dinners are scheduled to be held quarterly and are hosted by different base agencies designed to help Airmen. The collective of these agencies is known as the Integrated Delivery Service and they assist Airmen with different facets of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness.

“The dorms are a community which is important for our resident Airmen because the dining facility where they normally eat and socialize is closed temporarily,” said Master Sgt. Kristy Beaudoin, 437th Operations Squadron first sergeant. “This event replaces the community atmosphere they lost when the dining facility closed. As we continue to do these dorm dinners, we hope to build back that sense of community amongst our junior enlisted members.”

The event was attended by about 150 residents. When the dining facility closed for reconstruction, all dorm residents were given Basic Allowance for Substance, but the First Sergeants Council was concerned with how the closure would impact dorm residents’ sense of community.

“This is a great way to connect,” said Airman 1st Class Michael Wilmes, 437th Aerial Port Squadron ramp operator. “When you live in the dorms, you don’t usually see people in the courtyard. Dorm dinners get people out and around, it allows us to meet other people who live here.”

The host unit will rotate through the different IDS agencies each quarter with funding coming from the chapel and the first sergeants overseeing each event to ensure continuity.

“We gave them a home cooked meal because even though they get BAS, they may not cook very frequently and for some, this is their first time away from home,” said Chaplain (Col.) Walter Bean, Joint Base Charleston senior chaplain. “This is an opportunity for us to say ‘hey, we’re here for you and care about you.’ This is also a chance to ask what we can do for them.”

Airman 1st Class Jared Kandil 437th APS ramp operator, agreed. He said because of a limited number of kitchens he finds himself eating out frequently.

“By the time I get done with work, the kitchen is usually crowded so I have to go out to eat,” said Kandil. “I’m glad they did this and I hope they do it more often because it is a good morale booster.” 

The quarterly dinners are open to all dorm residents, including those on the JB Charleston - Weapons Station. The intent of the quarterly dinners is to bring dorm residents together.

This first dinner was sponsored by the base chapel, but they didn’t do it alone. Throughout the day various volunteers stopped by the chapel annex to deliver food and help with preparation.

“I would like to give a big thanks to everybody who helped put this all together,” said Bean. “Some people dropped off food while others were here serving and we couldn’t have done this without them. We would also like to thank the key spouses for coming out and providing the desserts. It was a wonderful turnout and when you saw how happy it made the Airmen, I look forward to doing it again next quarter.”

The dinners are leadership’s way of saying thank you for taking care of the mission every day. The next dorm dinner is scheduled for Dec. 6. It will be a car/truck/bike show themed chili cook-off.