The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence senior leaders had their work cut out for them as judges for the "Protect This House" command gingerbread house contest.
The holiday contest is part of the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention program’s initiative that intends to show leadership commitment to eradicating incidents of sexual harassment and assault by creating a climate where every person is treated with dignity and respect.
The SHARP program provided the basic kits to commands around USAACE and Fort Rucker in November. By Dec. 14, their projects were on display at Building 5700, and ready for judging.
The winners are:
· 1st Place: 1st Aviation Brigade
· 2nd Place: 23rd Flying Training Squadron (U.S. Air Force)
· 3rd Place: Lyster Army Health Clinic
Leaders evaluated the entries based on the number of signatures gained showing commitment throughout the command, creativity and overall impression.
Shana Morris, SHARP program manager, lauded the commands’ hard work and effort that went into the project.
“This is a wonderful visual representation to show that as a team we are committed to protecting each and every Soldier from any behavior, verbal and/or physical, that would erode our Army values that would lead to sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Morris said.
“Everyone did an excellent job showing off their artistic creativity,” Morris said. “I am incredibly proud to be a part of this team which has demonstrated at all levels the awareness of prevention and intervention to protect one another when it comes to behaviors of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
The 1st Aviation Brigade's display added multiple foam boards to collect signatures throughout their command, and included a snowy scene with a variety of implements--decorated trees, a Santa Claus, replica aircraft, unit insignia, and toy Soldiers. It also included a photograph of a supporting gingerbread house project built by the 2-13th Aviation Regiment based at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
The 23rd Flying Training Squadron's entry featured bright colors, multiple buildings enclosed by a picket fence with toy Soldiers guarding the perimeter, a runway, a helicopter on the roof, and a statement vowing to protect their command against sexual harassment and assault.
Lyster Army Health Clinic's display featured gingerbread people in medical uniforms and wearing masks, "Protect This House" in large, bold letters, a candy roof with a Christmas wreath, unit insignia, and more.
For the contest, commands were challenged to use their creativity and ingenuity to build a gingerbread house and then collected signatures representing buy-in across their commands.
The houses came in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the commands improvised with a wide array of materials. Some of the entries used lighting effects, replica aircraft, unit insignia or other elements specific to their command, as well as SHARP program thematic elements.
The entries will be on display at Building 5700 through Dec. 18.
The emphasis went beyond the décor, with a special focus on the signatures on the display boards, showing the support throughout the commands for what the house represent: teammates committed to protecting their Army “house” against incidents of sexual harassment and assault.
Everyone has a part to play in their command's commitment to the Army Values, to help create a climate of trust.
“It takes all of us to step in and prevent incidents from happening across our footprint. We have a part in this initiative and as a team we can achieve a zero tolerance of sexual harassment and assault,” she said.
The SHARP program aims to help eradicate incidents of sexual harassment and assault from the Army, with an emphasis on training, education and prevention. Everyone should know the warning signs and do their part to try to prevent incidents before they occur.
If a service member does become victim to sexual harassment or sexual assault, the SHARP program provides them with resources and referrals, advocates for them and, should they choose, supports them during the reporting process.
Resources are available for sexual assault support for the DoD and Fort Rucker community:
· Fort Rucker SHARP Hotline: 334-470-6629
· DoD Safe Helpline: 1-877-995-5247