Airmen wed before deploying for Irma recovery

    Senior Airmen Lauren Durham and Michael Davis exchanged vows at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando before heading out on search and recovery missions with their fellow Airmen and Soldiers of the Florida National Guards Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Emergency Response Force-Package. The two Airmen intended to wed next week at Jacksonville Beach but instead volunteered together to support Hurricane Irma response efforts. Photo by David Sterphone. Courtesy Florida National Guard Public Affairs Office.

    Irma crashed their wedding plans, but the storm couldn't dampen the spirits of a pair of airmen determined to tie the knot.

    Senior Airmen Lauren Durham and Michael Davis got married Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center. They were staging there before heading out on search and recovery operations.

    The couple had planned to marry next week on Jacksonville Beach, but they decided instead to join their team in hurricane recovery efforts.

    "The Air Force lives by the creed 'service before self,'" said Davis. "That’s what we’re here for: to put the citizens first."

    Durham and Davis are medical technicians with the Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing Medical Detachment-1. They also work together as civilians at UF Health Shands Hospital. They did not meet in the service, but they enjoy working together.

    "We bounce a lot of ideas off of each other and it’s great to be able to train together," said Durham. "The Guard is already like a family so it's even better to get to experience it together."

    The couple was surrounded by friends and colleagues as they said their vows. Tech Sgt. Ashley Ridgeway notarized the marriage, and the entire unit served as the witnesses. The guest list included soldiers and airmen from the Florida National Guard and officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    They plan to celebrate with their families at a later date.

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