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Buckley celebrates National Prayer Breakfast

Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Cecil Richardson, Air Force deputy chief of chaplains, speaks at Buckley's National Prayer Breakfast Jan. 31. (U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Mitchell Fuqua)

Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Cecil Richardson, Air Force deputy chief of chaplains, speaks at Buckley's National Prayer Breakfast Jan. 31. (U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Mitchell Fuqua)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Nearly 150 Buckley members celebrated Buckley's National Prayer Breakfast at the base chapel Jan. 31.

"The National Prayer Breakfast is a public recognition of the importance of spirituality not only in our individual lives but in our collective life as a nation," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Weston Walker, base chaplain.

The breakfast kicked off with traditional military protocol, an invocation, by Chaplain (1st Lt.) Wade Jensen, and a welcoming speech by Col. Chris Ayres, 460th Operations Group commander.

Then, Mr. Ron Greengas, Jewish lay leader, read scriptures from Exodus, and Deacon Richard Borda, Catholic coordinator read from Matthew.

Chaplain Walker led the prayer for the nation, asking God to not let our wealth blind us, not let us be oppressors and to guide us into doing what's right, before introducing the guest speaker, Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Cecil Richardson, the deputy chief of chaplains for the Air Force.

The general amused the crowd with a humorous account of his first time wearing a star, during which he came to attention when the room was called to it for him and said, "As you was," after realizing the homage was for him.

After another funny anecdote about his actual first time wearing a star - the logo on his shirt during his days as a gas station attendant - he segued into the purpose of ministry.

"Ministry means being there when people pull off the road of life for an oil change, a fill up ... or just a quick pick me up," he said, his voice transitioning from comedic to sentimental. "Ministry is also being there for people who just don't know which way to turn."

Chaplain Richardson told the Bible story of Naaman, editing it here and there to replace Bible text with entertaining modern-day Air Force equivalents, to help the audience relate more to the moral of the story -- God is God; we're not. The fabric of the speech was that by humbling ourselves to God and his will, God will show us miracles.

"Prayer breakfasts help us slow down enough to reflect on that point and on what's important to us," Chaplain Richardson said.

During his speech, the chaplain shared another story to demonstrate the possibility of miracles. He said one morning he woke up at 5:30 with a strong desire to buy eyeglasses. He and his wife went to the optical shop, and while he was there he told the clerk he was a chaplain.

Tears choked his words as he told the audience the woman started shaking and crying. She explained to him her husband was in the Air Force, and she just found out she had cancer. She had spent the morning praying for an Air Force chaplain.

Chaplain Richardson said the messages are for all walks of faith, and he learned as a two-striper that wellness isn't wellness without the spiritual dimension, whatever the form.

He said he thinks it's especially important to military members to have a strong sense of spirituality because they are faced with unique situations they constantly have to mentally prepare themselves for, and prayer breakfasts give them an opportunity to express their spirituality.

Prayer breakfasts also remind us that although America is neutral about religion, we're not neutral toward God, no matter what faith it's expressed in, said Chaplain Richardson.

The chaplain narrated one last message from God - no one needs to impress God, just walk with God.

(All proceeds from the ticket sales will go to the Buckley First Sergeants' Operation Warmheart fund.)