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Buckley chapel earns best of AFSPC

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Father Larry Kaiser, from Guardian Angels of Denver, offers communion during mass June 1 at the Buckley chapel. The chapel won the Robert P. Taylor Award in Air Force Space Command for 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacque Lickteig)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Father Larry Kaiser, from Guardian Angels of Denver, offers communion during mass June 1 at the Buckley chapel. The chapel won the Robert P. Taylor Award in Air Force Space Command for 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacque Lickteig)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Buckley Chapel recently earned the Robert P. Taylor Award for Air Force Space Command, the title that ranks them No. 1 amongst all other chapels in the command for 2006.

Chaplain (Capt.) Brendon O'Dowd attributes the chapel's success to the new $6 million building that opened its doors in February 2006 and the opportunities it affords.
"The building sets a culture and an atmosphere, and we want to do all we can to match that image," he said.

The chapel serves as a town center and hosts an average of 25 events a week, including chapel services, retirement ceremonies, promotion ceremonies and other Buckley activities. That's 10 more a week than Chaplain O'Dowd's previous chapel at Charleston Air Force Base, N.C.

He said having so many events allows the 16 chapel staff members to interact with the population and to remain active in the wing. This resulted in service attendance hiking 100 percent throughout the year.

During 2006, the chapel provided Buckley's population with Catholic services that were previously unavailable on base, a change that affected 25 percent of Buckley's population. They hired Deacon Richard Borda, who brought Catholic worship services to the base.

They handled seven casualty notifications and three unit memorial services, they developed Buckley's first Fall Festival, they handed out 9,900 cookies during Operation "Cookie Caper", and they initiated character training for Buckley's first-term Airmen, as well as many other activities that aggressively improved morale.

Chaplain O'Dowd said 460th Space Wing Commander Col. David Ziegler's support also contributed to the chapel's success.

"Because Col. Ziegler believes in the chapel, the chapel is able to do much more," he said.

He also said the chapel staff played a big role.

"Overall, our chapel staff just has a heart for people," he said. "That's the motivation we bring. It's not just because we have to do it. It's because we want to do it."
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