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Thank you for your prayers and support this fall! Overall, training went very smoothly, and we’ve seen much growth in the lives of the students. During the summer quarter, we had 2nd Phase and a Leadership & Communications class; this fall, we had a unit in Missions and one in Tech Rescue. Additionally, a good number of the cadre for Unit 67 were doing cadre as part of their 3rd Phase training. In all, we had 24 students in 2nd and 3rd Phase training this summer, and 21 in 3rd Phase training this fall. I was talking with the parents of one of the students at graduation last Friday, and they shared how grateful they were for the growth God has brought in their son during his time at ALERT, and I think many of the parents and men leaving training would echo that sentiment. We are often reminded that we as staff don’t bring change in the lives of our men, it is only God that changes hearts. So thank you for your prayers, and thank God for His work this semester!

Here are a few things I thought were worth noting from this past semester. Firstly, the return rate from Basic Training to 2nd Phase was higher than usual, giving us 20 students in 66’s 2nd Phase. Secondly, God brought details together (later than I would have liked) for an amazing Missions class trip to Mexico (more on that next week). And thirdly, through the generosity of our donors we were able give scholarship money to every student that applied for it this year, enabling men to train who would have otherwise been unable due to finances.

Other highlights from the semester include the Leadership & Communications class’s DC trip, the Missions class trip to Wayumi in central PA, multiple flood-relief deployments in MO and KY, and the Tech Rescue trip to Mount Magazine in AR. We also had several alumni join the Endurance Hike this fall, three of whom were either the father or brother of recruits in Basic Training.

As we reflect on the past year and anticipate the fast approach of 2023, you may wonder what our biggest needs are. If we are going to continue with a Fire Academy and EMT program going into the future, we need more instructors both to coordinate those programs and to help share the instructing load. All in all, we need about one full-time instructor/coordinator and two more part-time instructors. Please pray with us that if EMT and Fire Academy are platforms God wants to use to forge men, He will bring the right instructors. Please also pray for wisdom as we navigate the transitions ahead and consider applicants for these roles.

Thank you as always for your prayers, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Captain Phillip Vanderford | Unit 41
ALERT Battalion Commanding Officer