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A W&L Family and a Military Deployment

Jenny Williams and David Foster are both members of the Washington and Lee Class of 1998. Jenny teaches English and writing in a high school near Philadelphia. Dave, a former lawyer and former Army officer, is the president of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, an organization that’s revitalizing Camden, N.J. They met at W&L, married in 2002 and have two children.

Now Dave is deployed to Afghanistan as a member of the Army Reserves. And Jenny has written a moving essay about that signal event in their family’s life for the New York Times.

In the April 5 “Modern Love” column, Jenny details their post-W&L lives in Tennessee, when Dave served with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell. “My friends were 24, single and living in San Francisco, Washington and New York,” she writes. “But as the saying goes, sometimes you don’t get what you want but what you need. I had spent my high school years naïvely bashing the military, so now I would live with a soldier in a military town.”

After they married, Dave left the Army, although he wanted to continue with the National Guard or the Reserves. Jenny resisted. “It was always easy for me to explain why the timing was wrong,” she writes. “Couldn’t he finish law school first? And what about the debt we faced and the promise of being grown-ups with children and money to spend?”

An accumulation of events and observations led Jenny to change her mind. Read why in her graceful column, “A Surrender to War, After an Uneasy Peace.”

W&L bestowed the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award on Dave in 2010. And the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of the alumni magazine detailed his work with the predecessor of Cooper’s Ferry, the Greater Camden Partnership, which in both old and new guises often employs students from W&L’s Shepherd Poverty Program. You can read that article here.

Last spring when he was back on campus, Dave videotaped a Generals’ Perspective. You can watch it below:

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