Fort Knox and surrounding community members gathered at the post's Saber & Quill Catering and Conference Center March 3 to join forces in prayer over the nation, leaders, communities and Soldiers and their Families.
Those in attendance heard from the event's guest speaker, Retired Col. Tom Curry, who shared about growing up in northern Louisiana and receiving a call from God as a young man to preach.
Curry read from a passage in Genesis about Abraham being called by God to leave his hometown and make a new home in what would later become Israel.
"Abraham was 75 years old when he departed from Haran," said Curry. "I am 10 years from 75 years old, and I am still experiencing God's call in my life."
Curry said what's amazing about God calling is that he gives those he calls the power to accomplish what they're meant to accomplish. He shared his experience as an example.
"When I was a kid, I couldn't tell you my name without stuttering so bad that I was embarrassed to even talk in public," said Curry.
Prior to Curry speaking, guests spent time in corporate prayer, led by Chaplains Capt. Kevin Coulter of 1st Theater Sustainment Command, Capt. Soe Min of 19th Engineer Battalion, Lt. Col. Thomas Brooks of U.S. Army Cadet Command, and Maj. Jonathan Lee of the Fort Knox Family Life Center.
Staff Sgt. Rufus Surles, from Cadet Command's Religious Affairs, read Daniel 3:16-27, in which three Israelis refused to bow and worship the Babylonian king and were thrown into a fiery furnace for their decision to follow God. The passage highlighted this year's theme: "Forged through the Fire."
Curry said he grew up watching B-52 bombers soar over his grandparents' house and dreamed of someday flying for the Air Force. All that changed in high school.
"At the age of 16 God put an unrest in my heart, and he stirred in me a desire to where I would be willing to say to him, 'God, if you would just tell me what you want me to do, I'll do it,'" said Curry.
Curry said his path led him, like Abraham, away from his hometown to seminary at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and eventually to the Kentucky Air Guard, where he served as chaplain 30 years. He said during his service, he has spent enough time around the Army to understand a little about how Soldiers think.
"People say, 'What's the difference in the Air Force and the Army?' Well, this is what I've learned," said Curry. In the Army, you all say, 'Hooah!' right? Well, in the Air Force, we say, 'Per Diem.' We like our per diem."
He said he spent ample time around Soldiers during Hurricane Katrina, when he deployed there in August 2005 to provide spiritual support before traveling back in humvees with the Kentucky National Guard.
Shortly before Curry spoke, Brooks prayed for members of the Fort Knox community and those from the surrounding communities.
"[God,] help us to think and belong together in true community, with care and concern for others," prayed Brooks. "May true wisdom for living be lifted up among us, and may we learn to kindly and positively relate with those who see the world differently; with those with whom we disagree.
"May we treat all with dignity and respect in a world that's more polarized and verbally abusive than ever before."
Curry encouraged the group by sharing how he and others have had to walk through fires of tribulation to follow God. His mother died right after he was called to preach, and his father married an alcoholic who Curry said eventually destroyed him. The woman's daughter Patty Woods, Curry's stepsister, often avoided physical confrontations with her mother until she was old enough to move out.
Both of them overcame huge obstacles, according to Curry, to eventually get to where they are today. Curry pastors Parkland Baptist Church in Louisville. Patty joined the Army and served in a senior position. Both have retired as colonels.
"God will take your heart, and experiences, and any limitations that you might have grown up with," said Curry; "he will transform those to his glory if you will allow him to do it."