Amanda Crain and Jacob GodwinDecember 2009 business graduate Amanda Crain’s transition into the real world will not only include stepping into the workforce, but also walking down the aisle to marry her fiancé of three years, Jacob Godwin.

Crain’s experience has been far from ordinary. While most students her age have the support of a partner close by, Crain had to cope with her fiancé being more than 6,000 miles away serving two tours of duty in the War on Iraq.

When you consider Crain’s circumstances, her accomplishments here at UTC are even more impressive. She graduated from UT Chattanooga’s College of Business with a major in Entrepreneurship. She served as an active member of Omega Phi Alpha, a service sorority that plans at least six service projects each semester that help the local Chattanooga community. Also, she has rowed on the UTC Crew Team and been a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Golden Key, and the Alpha Honor Society.

Amanda Crain and Jacob GodwinGodwin left for his first tour of duty in January 2007, right at the beginning of Crain’s second semester at UTC.

“I tried to keep myself busy. I took 18 hours that semester. I was still a freshman and didn’t really know how to cope with having a fiancé in Iraq. It was hard to focus. I was waiting up till 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning just in case he would get a chance to call,” Crain said.

Godwin was busy serving on the front lines as an infantryman in Fallujah, Iraq. Crain explained that she gradually became acclimated to her circumstances. “It became a little easier, especially as the spring semester came to a close,” Crain said. Godwin arrived back safely in the States during August 2007.

Godwin soon received a notification that he would serve a second tour of duty beginning in April 2008. “The second tour of duty wasn’t harder or easier. It was different. During his first trip to Iraq, he was in much more danger, but he got to call often,” Crain said.

In his second tour, she said that Godwin was stationed in a much more stable area and he was much safer. The trade off was that he was only able to call twice during the six months he was gone. “The two tours were difficult for me in two different ways,” Crain said. Crain was very thankful to have her fiancé make it back safely again at the end of his tour in October 2008.

Amanda Crain and Jacob GodwinThe two plan to tie the knot on January 2, 2010. When asked if there was any significance in the date, Crain laughed and said, “My mother didn’t want me to get married in 2009 and the venue was already booked on January 1.”

Godwin has become a partner in a landscaping business. Crain looks forward to finding a job to help her gain some experience before going back to school for her master’s degree.

by Daniel Hunley, UTC intern

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