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Reverend recommends cooperation despite differences

Rev. France Davis, pastor at the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, speaks at an early morning devotional February 7 to members of the Utah Air National Guard. The event is part of a spiritual/devotional series presented by the 151st Air Refueling Wing Chaplain's Office. U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Monson (RELEASED)

Rev. France Davis, pastor at the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, speaks at an early morning devotional February 7 to members of the Utah Air National Guard. The event is part of a spiritual/devotional series presented by the 151st Air Refueling Wing Chaplain's Office. U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Emily Monson (RELEASED)

SALT LAKE CITY -- Members of the Utah Air National Guard gathered in the base dining facility to hear Reverend France Davis, pastor at the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, speak in an early morning devotional February 7.

The devotional was a part of a series of annual devotionals hosted by the chaplain's office bringing prominent religious leaders in the area out to the base to speak to members of the ANG.

"As chaplains, we're interested in the emotional and spiritual lives of all the people in the Air Guard, and in the Salt Lake area we have some tremendous resources with some really experienced, high-powered speakers," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Greg Clark. "We thought it would be a great opportunity to start a tradition of an annual meeting with some of these religious leaders in the area and make it a good opportunity to invite people from all backgrounds on the base to come and hear a different perspective."

Rev. Davis served four years in the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic, serving 18 months at Korat Air Force Base in Thailand, before receiving an honorable discharge as a staff sergeant in 1970.

In his introduction of the reverend, 151st ARW chaplain (Lt. Col) Brewer quoted him, speaking of his military service, "I've been in the field, firing a rifle, repairing an airplane, marching to orders, training others, learning how to follow directions and certainly learning to work as part of a team. None of that experience was wasted on me."

Rev. Davis's message was centered on working well with fellow Airmen and Soldiers, despite their differences. He explained how everyone needs to put aside malice and envy and become spontaneous and free so that they can make the difference that needs to be made.

"Nobody is nobody," he said. "Everybody is somebody."

He said we are still comrades, and we have more in common than we have different. He spoke of a genetic study going on in which it was discovered that everybody is 99.9 percent the same. Rev. Davis also said that we need to work together, put aside our differences and "decide we're going to make a positive out of a negative."

Rev. Davis met and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. while in college, and compared the feeling of unity when Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Washington D.C. to the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

"We must somehow, together, put aside those things that separate and divide us and decide that we're going to make a positive difference," said Rev. Davis.

The chaplains hope to continue to bring dynamic speakers to the base throughout the upcoming years.

"We want everyone to feel welcome and respected, and one of the best ways to do that is to give everyone the opportunity to hear from each other," said Chaplain Clark.