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FORT LEE, Va. (March 26, 2015) -- Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Donald L. Rutherford, the 23rd U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains, will be the featured speaker at a National Prayer Luncheon observance here April 23, 11:30 a.m., in the Lee Club.

Everybody in the Fort Lee community is invited to the event. Tickets are free, however, participants are welcome to contribute a $7 donation for the meal. Seating is limited to 300. Installation and unit ministry teams will begin distributing tickets on April 1.

Rutherford is a native of Kinderhook, N.Y. In 1977, he received his commission through the State University of New York at Albany ROTC program where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in English and sociology. He went on to earn a master’s of divinity degree from St. Bernard’s Seminary, University of Rochester, and in 1981, he was ordained as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

During his active duty career, the chaplain held a variety of assignments with increasing levels of responsibility. They included stints as deputy division and division artillery chaplain, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; senior chaplain recruiter, Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Washington, D.C.; and command chaplain, U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army, Heidelberg, Germany; among others.

Rutherford has served in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Hurricane Andrew Relief, Desert Thunder and Iraqi Freedom. He was the deputy chief of Army chaplains before assuming his current position in July 2011.

The prayer luncheon also will include scripture readings by various battalion and organization chaplains at Fort Lee as well as a special music performance by garrison chapel musicians Richard Moore and Mary Beth Weathington. The Garrison Commander Col. Paul K. Brooks is the host for this event.

Described as a time to “bring Soldiers, Army Civilians and community members together for the purpose of prayer and worship for our country’s leadership and government,” the prayer luncheon is an off-shoot of the National Prayer Breakfast observances that now take place every February across the country. The observances originated in the halls of Congress, starting in 1953 when representatives of both political parties assembled for prayer and reflection to show their unified faith and love of country.

For further information about the prayer luncheon, call Chaplain (Capt.) A.J. Gunther at (804) 765-9295.