‘Service before self’ — Air National Guard couple changes their wedding plans to help Hurricane Irma victims

September 11, 2017 7:39 pm Last Updated: September 11, 2017 7:39 pm


Lauren Durham from Orlando, Florida was ready for her dream wedding with her sweetheart Michael Davis. The wedding dress had been picked out, the beach for the intimate ceremony was waiting, and their September wedding date was clearly marked on the calendar.

But the gowns and tuxes were instead replaced by fatigues.

(Photo: Fox News)

However, that wedding dress would be put away before the wedding ever happened and would be replaced by a set of fatigues worn by both the bride and groom. Oh, and no beach. The location was changed at the last minute to an airplane hangar.

Why the sudden change?

There was a storm on the way.

Photo: AP Newswire/Johnson City Press

A hurricane was fast approaching Florida, the worst ever recorded, and people were going to need help from professionals like Lauren and Michael.

Photo: U.S. Dept. Of Defense

The couple both serve as senior airmen in the Air National Guard.

They had just gotten word that they were being deployed to assist in the inevitable aftermath of Hurricane Irma. and orders are orders. They informed relatives and guests who had already arrived from out of town.

Planning a new honeymoon in less than 24 hours…

Photo: AP/Johnson City Press

They let everyone know they were assigned to some of Florida’s most battered and dangerous regions. They would gather along with other military personnel at the Orange County Convention Center to wait out the storm and move into action.

While having breakfast with some friends, someone asked why they just didn’t get married during the hurricane? “It started out as a joke,” said Durham in an interview with AP Newswire.

But it was no joke. “It just kind of unfolded,” added Durham. “And it turned out to be really great.”

Inconvenienced? Heck no! Bring it on!

Photo: AP

People they knew came from all over the country to attend their wedding, and local volunteers were there, too! Everyone chipped in and set up folding chairs, some found tuxedo T-shirts as wedding attire, and someone brought a  bouquet of orange flowers.

Fortunately, their best friend, who was also in the Guard, happened to be a notary and officiated the ceremony.

Who needs a wedding cake?

Photo: Pxby/CC

Skittles replaced a wedding cake, and the bride couldn’t have been more accepting of the spontaneous change. She did miss her wedding dress, but she accepted that as best any bride-to-be could.

“It was a big poofy flowy princess gown,” she said. “But, you know, I love wearing this uniform, so this works.”

A selfless act from a fully committed couple!

Photo: AP

Air National Guardsmen from around the country have been assigned to help with operations such as damage assessment, search-and-rescue, and emergency medical evacuations in Florida and other areas affected by the storm. Some of these Guardsmen have just finished up helping people trapped by flooding in Houston.

‘Service Before Self’

Photo: U.S. Army National Guard

Having dated since just after high school, Durham and Davis had been a couple for five years already. They were on the same page with everything about their circumstances. There was no hesitation by either of them of what had to be done, and they made no attempt to ask for time off.

“Service before self,” Davis said.

It will be a great story to tell their kids and grandkids one day!



Source: Guardsmen skip beach wedding to get married in fatigues, then help Irma victims from The New York Post and Couple Gets Deployed To Florida, Hurricane Irma Gives Them 1 Thing They Never Expected by Breaking News Global 24/7 on YouTube. Also, No Dress, No Problem: National Guard Couple Tie the Knot During Hurricane Irma from NBC4.