The Lompoc Chamber of Commerce once again treated local military members and their families to a festive barbecue lunch Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The chamber held its annual Military Appreciation BBQ at the on-base Cocheo Park. At the event, which is one of the Lompoc chamber's largest military-related functions, chamber staff and other volunteers served more than 1,400 meals. The lunch, which cost about $10,000 to put on, was organized by the chamber's military affairs committee and funded primarily from Explore Lompoc.

“This is the way to spend a Friday, right? To come out here and get a nice meal," Col. Michael Hough, the commander of the 30th Space Wing at VAFB, said as the event got underway.

In addition to providing food, representatives of Explore Lompoc also gave out about $5,000 worth of gift certificates to the attendees for use at Lompoc-area businesses.

“We especially want to thank all you active-duty military for your service," said Ken Ostini, a past president/CEO of the Lompoc chamber who volunteered at Friday's event. "That’s why we do this every year, to thank you for what you do for this country and for keeping us safe.”

Sylvia King, chair of the chamber's military affairs committee, noted that the lunch also has the added bonus of introducing service members and their families to some of the businesses and services available in Lompoc.

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“It’s really just to foster good relations between the base and the city of Lompoc and get them acquainted with our people and maybe entice them to come visit our different establishments," King said.

Hough said he was grateful for the local support.

“This is a great example of a partnership between Vandeberg Air Force Base and Lompoc," he said, "but also just a great example of the extreme generosity that we get from our local community.”

This report was prepared by Willis Jacobson. He can be reached at wjacobson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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