Air National Guard member Lauren Durham had planned her intimate white wedding on a Florida beach for September, 2017, long before there was a mention of a hurricane named Irma. But instead, she married her fiancé, fellow Air National Guardsman Michael Davis in matching outfits- their fatigues.
The ceremony took place on September 10th in a hangar filled with rescue vehicles and paramedics instead of wedding decorations. Someone found a small spray of orange flowers. Others arranged chairs to form pews and an aisle. The offbeat wedding didn’t phase the two.
The couple, both medical technicians with the Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing Medical Detachment-1, exchanged wedding vows in Orlando before a gathering of fellow guardsmen awaiting orders to begin search and rescue operations.
“We volunteered to come out here and support Florida,” Durham, 24, told Florida National Guard Public Affairs. “We wanted to help out with the hurricane and give some relief to the citizens.”
In civilian life, the newlyweds both work at a hospital and are students at Florida State College.
Tech Sgt. Ashley Ridgeway officiated the wedding, and there was no shortage of witnesses. The only downside was the absence of the couples’ families and civilian friends. That will be rectified when the couple has a second ceremony in the future.
Durham, 24, and Davis, 26, met right out of high school, and have been together for five years. Davis has served for eight years, Durham for three.
“The Air Force lives by the creed ‘service before self,’” Davis told Florida National Guard Public Affairs. “So that’s what we’re here for: to put the citizens first.”