A great FUMA story.
A boy attends his hometown church every Sunday. His pastor weaves into his Christian teachings the impact of his former school, Fork Union Military Academy. The boy tells his dad before his ninth-grade school year, “I want to attend FUMA.” He attends FUMA, deepening his faith, excelling in football and in the classroom. He moves on to college where he plays four years on his collegiate football team and joins the ROTC program. After graduation, the boy now a man, enlists in the United States Army becoming a Ranger and serving two tours in Iraq. After ten years in the service, he joins the ministry as the lead pastor of a church.
That is the story of David Belcher ’02.
The pandemic has pushed the pause button on life around the world but for David Belcher and Lake Chelan Bible Church, where he is the lead pastor, the growth has not been on hold. Three years ago, the church had only six members. On Easter Sunday 2021, three hundred attended the service. Thriving in adverse conditions is what Belcher has been trained to do since his early days at Fork Union Military Academy.
Along with overcoming adversity, serving others and faith in God have long been a part of David Belcher, even before he began his ninth-grade year at FUMA. He looked up to his childhood pastor the late Dr. Charles Fuller of Roanoke, Virginia’s First Baptist Church and a 1949 FUMA graduate. Like Belcher he loved football, having played at the University of Richmond.
On the other hand, military service was not something Belcher thought he would pursue. After two years as a ‘civilian’ student and football player at Marshall University, he realized that military structure brought out his best, just like at FUMA, and he enrolled in the ROTC program. This led to ten years of service in the United States Army and two tours in Iraq. He would retire as a Captain Infantry Officer Airborne Ranger.
Belcher was raised by two wonderful parents, Billy and Jane. His years at FUMA furthered instilled their values from his childhood in Roanoke, Virginia. His path to serve became even clearer.
“If I had not gone to Fork Union Military Academy, I would not have the depth of values I have now. Even though my parents were raising me in them, it forced me immediately to live in a deep convicted way. I think everyone who has gone there [FUMA] understands that.”
“Dr Fuller was our pastor. He used to talk all the time how he went to FUMA, starting as a ninth grader. I looked up to him. He was also an athlete. He played football at the University of Richmond. I just knew there needed to be a change [in where I went to school]. I needed to be challenged more. I wanted to play college football. I also knew if I stay on the current path, I am not going to be challenged academically. I am not going to be challenged in my character.”
“When I arrived on campus my ninth-grade year for 3-a-day football practices, I was really down. I went back to my room after lunch. I sat down and I was about to start crying. I opened the top drawer and there was a Gideons Bible. Reading it when I was so down, it just ignited me. I grew a lot over the next four years…. but that moment really shaped me. Every time since then, anytime I have a crossroads I go back to the Word.”
“This is not an exaggeration, every single day of my life I recall something that happened at Fork Union. Leadership is not different from the cadet corps to adulthood. The same principles of leading well are the same as that age as when you are 40. When I have to make a decision as a pastor, I will recall scenarios from when I was in high school that shaped me even more then when I was on active duty.”
We want to honor the legacy of sacrifice and servanthood by connecting with Alumni serving in their communities or around the world. Please share a photo and a caption of where you are serving by emailing email@example.com