By Sarah Pride
Patrick Henry College
Just prior to Christmas break, on Patrick Henry College’s official study day before first finals, known as Reading Day, a few dozen young men in uniform quietly gathered in the Grand Lobby of the Barbara Hodel Center (BHC). Students studying in the BHC Coffee Shop next to the lobby glanced at them, but since group tours of interested high-schoolers are a common sight on campus, nobody paid them much attention. The young men, however, had come for a purpose. They quickly formed into two lines, hummed a few notes, and, on cue, burst into song. For the next fifteen minutes, they sang carols to curious students and staff.
One of the spectators, senior Daniel Davies, knew exactly who the visitors were. For nine years before joining the on-campus PHC community, Davies had served with Air Land Emergency Rescue Team (ALERT) in Texas. According to their website, ALERT is “a unique training and service organization for young men who desire to achieve maturity and fruitfulness in service as Christian men.” One facet of this disaster-relief organization is its Men’s Chorus, in which Davies participated for several years.
“In emergency areas, we help citizens clean-up and collect belongings,” explained Russell Moulton, one of the leaders of the Chorus, “and then we gather to sing a hymn for the people and pray.”
While a member of the Men’s Chorus, Davies and his unit also sang twice at the White House as well as at many community events and churches. This year the Chorus, driving back from D.C., decided to pay Davies a visit at PHC.
“I remember often telling [Davies] that he had to stop working long enough to get some sleep,” laughed Moulton, recalling the senior’s habit of working 40-60 hours a week for ALERT and taking distance learning (DL) classes from PHC part-time.
While in ALERT, Davies received extensive training in emergency response, leadership, and management. In the leadership program, he “was given responsibility for five different groups of 6-10 men in various phases of training, lasting from 4-16 weeks.” From the end of 1999 to July, 2007, he served the organization as Operations and Logistics Manager.
“I was able to serve on many disaster and service deployments, including tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, several Search-and-Rescue operations, and recovery of the space shuttle Columbia,” he notes.
On a typical deployment, he says, his team would camp out on gym floors after working for eight or more hours chain-sawing trees and dragging limbs. While working in operations or logistics, he often spent the day facilitating conferences for up to a few thousand people from ALERT’s Texas campus.
“I lived in a dorm room on-campus the entire nine-plus-years I was with ALERT, so I was ready to run over to the office 24/7 if we had an emergency call come in,” says Davies.
In fall of 2007, Davies made his transition to the PHC dorms, moving on-campus to pursue his studies in government and politics full-time. Needing to refocus his efforts academically, he has purposefully let his EMT license lapse.
“I feel that God’s calling on my life is in political campaigns,” he concludes.
At a College whose mission is to “shape the culture, and serve the nation,” Davies seems to be preparing himself for a lifetime of service through… actually serving. The work he has done through ALERT has given Davies experiences to last a lifetime, and he credits the College with helping him to chart his course toward even richer seasons of service.
The ALERT Men's Chorus in 2003, performing in the White House. Daniel Davies, now a PHC senior, is in the center, front row.