What does it mean to be a true servant of others? What happens when a person lets go of his natural self-focus and dedicates his life to meeting someone else’s needs? Too many young people never take the time to ask questions like these, but if they’re willing to look, they just might find answers at the International ALERT Academy.

In the early 1990’s, a father named Ron Fuhrman began asking those questions himself. He watched as his children’s generation was handed more conveniences, more privileges, and more luxury than any generation before. Tens of thousands of young people were readily turning a blind eye to the needs of the world – disaster, poverty, and other consequences of sin – in favor of serving themselves. Things would get worse before they got better, Fuhrman knew, and so he asked God to help him find young men who would reject self-centeredness and instead pursue a calling of servant leadership. In 1994, with the support of a number of Christian leaders, Fuhrman founded the Air Land Emergency Resource Team.

The vision was simple enough. Young men were invited to a campus in the Northwoods of Michigan to attend Basic Training, where they were challenged to test the limits of their strength in a way that deepened their relationships with God. Having established a firm personal reliance on Him, they were then trained with skills they could use in disaster relief efforts and in service to their communities. The men could spend a year or more learning the tools of various trades, further equipping them not only to serve people in trouble, but to one day provide for the families they would lead. In some ways, their experiences even placed them ahead of their college-bound peers, whose textbook knowledge would have to compete with the practical know-how possessed by ALERT men. Soon the International ALERT Academy was training dozens of new EMTs, pilots, skilled construction workers and firefighters, all within the context of integrated Bible study and character development. At every step, the men learned self-discipline by submitting themselves not only to their leaders, but first and foremost to Jesus Christ.

ALERT has continued this tradition and focus over the years and while some training venues may have changed it continues to be a program that “Forges extraordinary men who will influence their world for Christ.”