Air Land Emergency Resource Team
The ALERT Academy is an intense, post high-school, Christian discipleship and training program for young men who want to live with purpose and make an impact. We forge men to be spiritually sound, physically fit, and ready to serve.
ALERT utilizes a military-style structure, intentional discipleship, unique experiences, and professional skills training to create an environment that facilitates the forging process. Our 9-month training program consists of three phases: Basic Training—a mentally and physically demanding boot camp, Intermediate Training—training designed to develop personal competence, critical thinking, and a service mindset, and Advanced Training—professional instruction and mentorship in a man’s chosen training option.
Since 1994, we have been working to forge extraordinary men who influence their world for Christ. More than 2,700 men have completed training with ALERT, and our alumni are all over the US and the world. ALERT alumni are currently serving as pastors, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and members of the military, special forces, and local police and fire/EMS departments, using the training they received here to serve their families, churches, and communities.
We believe the forging process occurs as the Gospel transforms a man, discipline strengthens a man, hardship matures a man, camaraderie sharpens a man, training equips a man, and service focuses a man.
Transforms a Man
We believe that only the Gospel brings lasting transformation, so we infuse the Gospel into every aspect of the ALERT Academy. In each phase of training, we set aside daily time for personal Bible study and scripture memory so that the men build habits of consistent time in the Word. The men have Bible studies with the officers and instructors, group prayer times, weekly small group meetings, and one-on-one conversations with their leadership, all designed to continually bring the Gospel into daily life. Our goal is to saturate the ALERT program with the Gospel so that, through the work of the Holy Spirit, each man will finish his training totally changed by God’s grace, walking in a deep relationship with Him, and wanting to glorify Him in everything he says and does.
Strengthens a Man
Long-term faithfulness is built on daily disciplines and habits because they shape the direction of our lives. We intentionally create a culture of discipline by utilizing tools such as our military-style structure, uniform and jurisdiction inspections, physical training, and scripture memory. As the men progress through each phase of training, they are expected to take more personal responsibility, helping them to develop a mindset of self-discipline and time management. Our goal is that the repetition of daily habits would strengthen each man, help them cultivate personal responsibility, and better equip them to faithfully live out their calling as men.
Matures a Man
We believe hardship is essential for developing maturity and resilience, so we intentionally incorporate difficult situations and challenges into our training. Pressures like intense hikes, all-night scenarios, and unexpected training events give the men a wake-up call, bring perspective about who they are, and offer opportunities for growth. These challenges stretch them physically, mentally, and emotionally, encouraging them to rely on God. Hardships push us past our limits, bond us together as men, and mature us in ways that a comfortable and easy life never could. So rather than shying away from hardship, we intentionally embrace it because of the growth and mental resilience we know will come as a result.
Sharpens a Man
In order to effectively influence their world for Christ, young men need real connection with Godly friends and mentors. Living in genuine community is vital for sustained growth and maturity. Our training is designed to help the men build close friendships and camaraderie as they face new experiences, pressures, and successes together. We incorporate elements such as structured peer-to-peer feedback, personal investment from leadership, and small unit sizes to sharpen the men and model the value of authentic relationships. We desire that the men would build upon these friendships after returning home and intentionally seek out meaningful connections and discipleship within their communities and churches.
Equips a Man
We believe that learning a variety of practical, hands-on, and interpersonal skills broadens a young man’s capacity and willingness to face life’s challenges. The ALERT training model is designed around focused classroom instruction, extensive field training, and professional application. Our courses are led by experienced instructors who are passionate about developing men, both personally and professionally. Our goal with each aspect of our training is to help build personal competence, equip our students with an excellent foundation of skills, and prepare them to shoulder the responsibilities of life with courage and resolve.
Focuses a Man
Service broadens a young man’s perspective by shifting his focus away from himself. We desire that the men view their time in training not simply as a means to better themselves but as a way to prepare for a life given to serving others. We incorporate regularly scheduled service deployments to provide the men with practical opportunities to serve. Throughout their time at ALERT, students are also encouraged to look beyond their own needs and help the men around them. Our motto is “strong to serve,” and we desire that the ALERT Academy would produce men who are spiritually sound, physically fit, and ready to serve.
Col. Jesse Boulden
Capt. Phillip Vanderford
Capt. Daniel Hawley
SMaj. Avery Whitaker
Col. Marv Behr (Ret.)
2Lt. Dillon Whitaker
1Lt. Charles O'Neal
1Lt. Samuel Winkler
2Lt. Marcus Nafziger
2Lt. Claude Dean
2Lt. Matthew Moody
ALERT was founded in 1994 by Ron Fuhrman, who had a vision for training and discipling young men, and preparing them to lead in their families, churches, and communities. 26 men answered the call and completed training as Unit 1. The program grew quickly, and by the end of 1995, 249 men had finished Basic Training. As the program continued to expand, ALERT outgrew the original campus in the Northwoods of upper peninsula Michigan, and in 2000, ALERT moved to our current 2,200 acre campus the Lord provided in East Texas. Nearly 30 years after Colonel Furhman’s initial idea for a program to disciple young men, ALERT is still forging extraordinary men who influence their world for Christ.
From the beginning, ALERT has had a strong emphasis on service and deployed teams to serve all over the world. Our students have served on:
- Disaster relief all over the US; and in Venezuela, Mexico, Haiti, Honduras, Fiji, and the Bahamas
- Missing person and evidence recovery searches in five states
- Search & Recovery teams after the Oklahoma City Bombing and Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster
- Community service projects in the US, Brazil, Russia, Belize, Mongolia, South Korea, Malaysia, Peru, Romania, and Poland
Statement of Faith
The International ALERT Academy affirms the cardinal doctrines of Scripture that have been defended by historic statements of faith. These include the divine inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the original sin nature of man, the atonement for sin by Christ’s shed blood, and justification by faith in Jesus as the Christ.