MADISON (WKOW) -- On the 10-year anniversary of President George W. Bush's announcement the U.S. would invade Iraq, we revisit the story of a Madison mother who has offered support to military families for decades.
Jane Jensen is the founder of several support groups that have transformed over the years. She started when she found out her son Garrett, who was a pilot for the National Guard, would be serving in Desert Storm in 1990. The support group meetings lasted for a number of years then dissolved when the war was over.
Then when the recent Iraq War began, she learned her son would be going overseas again so she put a notice in the paper looking for others who have loved ones serving in Iraq.
36 people came to that first Iraq War support group meeting back in 2003. Since then, Military Families for Peace have held hundreds more meetings over the past 10 years and have grown bigger than Jensen ever expected.
"People tell me it helped a great deal and they got to meet people in their own community that they would never have met any other way," Jensen says. "They were like me, they didn't know anyone else either."
Now, the group has more than 600 members. Jensen, a retired psychologist, says bringing people together to support one another really helped families get through times when loved ones were away and also the pain of a loss. Jensen also became an anti-war activist, touring with John Kerry's campaign for president in 2004.
Jensen says the group has slowed down in the past few years but they still meet every year for a summer picnic.