Fisher DeBerry coaches different team at National Prayer Luncheon

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Fisher DeBerry, U.S. Air Force Academy head football coach, headlined this year’s National Prayer Luncheon held at The Soundside Feb. 22. 

The luncheon, which drew more than 275 people, dates back to 1943 when members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives started prayer breakfasts to discuss their spiritual needs. The idea of the meeting has spread to more than 70 countries. 

The Hurlburt Field luncheon began with little help from any “higher powers.” Because lunch service was delayed, Mr. DeBerry spoke before the attendees were fed. However, Chap. (Capt.) Christian Chae, Hurlburt Field Chapel, was able to tame the hungry crowd. 

“We will be spiritually fed before we are physically fed,” he told them.
Mr. DeBerry’s talk covered many different aspects of spirituality. His message was simple, but he relayed it through a series of anecdotes and stories from growing up in a small town. 

“I didn’t learn to walk until I was three-and-a-half years old,” he joked. “There was just no reason to because the town was so small.” 

Being thankful was one way Mr. DeBerry offered as a key to spirituality.
“If you start each day with an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving, then you’ll have a good day,” he said. 

Mr. DeBerry even related the Air Force core values to personal values. 

“Aren’t those great core values to live by, not only here but in every day life?” he said.
He concluded his presentation with his own message of thanks. 

“Thank you for serving in our Air Force—the greatest team on the face of the world,” Mr. DeBerry told the audience. 

The coach’s enthusiasm and storytelling made an impression on some of the younger attendees. 

“It was pretty funny,” said Airman 1st Class Cristy Higginson, 16th Equipment Maintenance Squadron. “He put real-life stories into perspective.” 

With a focus on developing spirituality and faith, the luncheon appealed to people of all faiths. 

“The goal of the luncheon is not to push a particular religion, but to encourage spirituality,” said Chaplain Chae.