Amelia Academy

AA Alum Returns Home from Middle East Deployment

2017, April 4 – Jack Owens, Amelia Academy Class of 2012, returned home to visit with the students of Amelia Academy who supported him through cards, candy, toiletries, etc while he was deployed to Qatar for ten months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Miss Callahan’s first grade class spearheaded the Patriot Soldiers club to collect items for Jack and his fellow soldiers.

Upon his return, Jack popped in on the first grade and was overwhelmed with hugs, giggles, and high fives from the children. He ate lunch with them and gave them each a coin signifying his unit and mission while overseas. “I wanted to thank them in person and show them how much I appreciated their cards, pictures, and other gifts they sent me,” said Jack.

Jack also shared with the 11th grade, 7th grade, and 5th grade later that afternoon. The students gathered in Mrs. Shanaberger’s room to hear funny stories, learn about living conditions, and just how hot it was in the desert.  Jack’s main message to the older students was about how God got ahold of him while he was overseas.  With the help from his roommate and reading the book “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman, Jack realized he was being a “fan” on the sidelines instead of being a Christ follower. “While on the job one night, I felt God literally wash over me and I understood what Jesus had done for me.  I reached out to Him and He was there for me like He had been all along.” Jack encouraged the young people to “talk to God like they would a friend, because He is a friend waiting on them to come to Him.”

Jack graduated from the Virginia Military Institute with a Civil Engineering degree in May of 2016 and deployed the next day. He is with the 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment out of Virginia to Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His task was to provide security for the base. Jack plans to attend Liberty University in the fall, pursuing a degree in Biblical Studies. Jack also plans to pursue a pilot career flying for the Air National Guard.


First graders at Amelia Academy having lunch with Jack Owens upon his return from Qatar. Left to Right: Carson R., Emma W., Taylor H., Emilynn R., Abby D., Jack O., Rupert A., Jeremiah B., Jacob R., Levi B.