news-category: Veteran's Day

Gardner-Webb Honors Veterans at Service on Nov. 10

Veteran's day speaker, Col. Jim Davidson

GWU Alumnus, Col. Jim Davidson, Speaks on Living a Noble Life with Love and Faith

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb alumnus Col. Jim Davidson was the guest speaker for the University’s Veteran’s Day Prayer Service on Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. in Dover Chapel. Davidson serves as state chaplain in the South Carolina National Guard.

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William Downs provided greetings and the invocation for this annual observance hosted by the University to honor all those who answer the call to serve their country.

“It is important for us to take time each November—and really, to take time throughout the year—to recognize all those men and women from across our university, students, faculty, staff, and alumni, who have served in the Armed Forces,” Downs emphasized. “And, to celebrate all those from our broader community who have served in the United States Military.”

Downs added that his 95-year-old father, who proudly served in the US Army from 1954-56 (Basic Training with the 101st Airborne Infantry), taught him the importance of Veteran’s Day.  “My dad, more than anybody, taught me to respect our history,” he shared. “He taught me to honor our flag. He taught me to appreciate sacrifice and bravery, but most importantly, he taught me to say thank you. So, it is with deep gratitude that I extend my personal thanks, as well as the thanks of the entire Gardner-Webb community, to all those men and women who have served both God and country in the United States Armed Forces.”

The Gardner-Webb ROTC presented the colors to begin the service. The GWU Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Joshua Cheney, sang an arrangement of the national anthem by Reuben Burrows. The Old Testament reading was given by Instructor of Nursing Norma Mott, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and the New Testament scripture was read by Vice President of Advancement Nate Evans, also a U.S. Air Force veteran.

Davidson began his remarks by expressing his deep gratitude to veterans for their service and sharing about his days as a student at Gardner-Webb. He obtained his undergraduate degree in 1996 and Master of Divinity degree in 1999. He was born and raised in Indian Trail, N.C., and in addition to serving as a chaplain, he is the pastor of Pleasant Valley Church in Indian Land, S.C.

During his message, Davidson told the story of the five chaplains who were killed in 1943 when the S.S. Henry R. Mallory, a troop transport, was hit by a torpedo fired by a German submarine. One of those chaplains was First Lt. Horace E. Gravely, a relative of Davidson’s. In remembering Gravely’s life, a newspaper account of the tragedy stated that Gravely was known for “His innate capacity for noble living. His deep capacity for love and his rich capacity for faith.”

Davidson remarked, “Chaplain Gravely’s active-duty military career lasted less than one year. He never had the opportunity to advance beyond the rank of first lieutenant, but yet his impact was profound and his legacy endures even to this day.”

Reflecting on Gravely’s life, Davidson asked the question, “What kind of legacy might I leave?”

Then, Davidson elaborated on what it means to be noble, to love and to have faith. His messaged ended with a prayer, “I hope and I pray, that for myself and for you, that we will be remembered not for our accomplishments here on this earth. I pray that I will be known—and that you will be known—as a man or woman with an innate capacity for noble living … a deep capacity for love … and a rich capacity for faith.”  

The program closed with the Concert Choir leading the congregation in singing America the Beautiful, and a prayer by Vice President and University Chaplain for Christian Life and Service Dr. Josh Parrott.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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