2010 Archives

With SMU divinity degree, Iraq veteran on way to becoming Army chaplain


The following is from the May 15, 2010, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

May 18, 2010

The Dallas Morning News

Doretta FortenberryMost soldiers do not go into a war zone and find a new career.

But Doretta Fortenberry did.

She was a recent graduate of Texas Tech University and headed toward a teaching career when she surprised her family and friends by joining the Texas National Guard in 2003.

When her unit deployed the following year, Fortenberry landed at an Army base in southern Iraq, working as a clerk for the brigade commander.

That's when soldiers began reaching out to her for spiritual guidance, and Fortenberry recognized her calling to become an Army chaplain.

"I felt such peace and contentment doing it," she said. "You just know it's the right thing."

On Saturday, she took an important step toward that goal when she was awarded a master of divinity degree, magna cum laude, from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

"It feels wonderful," said Fortenberry, 32, as she joined her parents and other family members after commencement ceremonies at Highland Park United Methodist Church.

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