Hispanic Heritage Month comes to close at Pacific Coast Club
By Airman 1st Class Erica Stewart, 30th Space Wing
/ Published October 19, 2006
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Friday marked the kick-off for Hispanic Heritage month here with an appreciation event at the Pacific Coast Club.
Flamenco dancers from Garcia Dance Studio, located in Lompoc, not only performed several different traditional Hispanic dances but also taught Vandenberg members beginning salsa steps.
Niki Sandoval, a dancer with Garcia Dance Studio, feels honored to have the privilege of performing this show on VAFB for the past 10 years.
"It is a privilege, an honor, to perform here for Vandenberg members," said Ms. Sandoval. "My brother just came back from Iraq and I feel that anything that we can do to improve the quality of life for military members is an honor."
Laura Garcia-Haas, owner of Garcia Dance Studio, has been performing this show at Vandenberg for 10 years.
"It's just nice to see the smiles on their faces as we perform," Mrs. Garcia-Haas said.
In addition to the Garcia Dance Company, there were free Hispanic food samples from Central and South American.
Each dish had its own information placard which gave a brief educational background about the meal. Additionally, a slide show was also presented displaying the contributions made by Hispanic Americans to society.
Lastly, the" Mariachi Lobos", a local group form Santa Maria, played traditional mariachi music for those in attendance.
"Events like the Hispanic cultural expo are designed to enhance cross cultural awareness," Master Sgt. Michael Brown, Superintendent of Military Equal Opportunities office here, said. "When most people hear about events like Hispanic Heritage Month they may think it's specifically for someone that's Hispanic; however, this is not true. Ideally we want to see all races at theses events."
With the force shrinking it's imperative that an environment of mutual respect exist, he said.
"The MEO cultural observance programs foster an environment in which individuals feel comfortable sharing their perspectives on accomplishing the mission more effectively and sharing their cultural background with co-workers. When this happens we will only get strong as an Air Force," Master Sgt. Brown said.