Doretta Fortenberry

When Doretta Fortenberry was deployed in 2005 to Iraq with the National Guard she found that fellow soldiers often talked with her about their spiritual needs. With the encouragement of her brigade chaplain, Fortenberry made a lifechanging decision: to become a military chaplain. An art teacher in her civilian life, Fortenberry applied from Iraq to seminary at SMU's Perkins School of Theology.

She graduated from Perkins May 15, much closer to her goal. She has completed the three-year  Master of Divinity program, summer Army chaplain training and is wrapping up her pastoral internship at First United Methodist Church in Livingston, Texas. Her next step is Pearland, Texas, where she'll serve as minister for two years, meeting U.S. Army requirements for their chaplains, and Methodist requirements for ordination.

In the meantime, she's planning a wedding. She met a fellow Army chaplain during her summer training. They'll marry after he returns from his first deployment to Iraq as an Army chaplain. 

"I want it to be a happy wedding, not a sad, good bye wedding," she says. They plan to serve together as Army chaplains for the rest of their careers.

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