Hearing The Call To Serve

Kettle Run Government teacher Jac Bennington serves as an active duty pilot in the National Guard.

“I’ve traveled to a few different places during my time in the military and as a civilian and each time I visit another nation, I become more convinced America is the best country. No other nation gives its citizens so many freedoms and allows them the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them,” Jac Bennington, who is a History and Social Sciences teacher at Kettle Run High School, said. “However, despite everything that’s good here, I’m aware America has its problems, and the students I teach today are going to hopefully solve those problems as they become the movers and shakers of America. So, I hope what they learn in my classes prepares them to successfully live life after high school and make America a little bit better.”

Jac Bennington has taught at Kettle Run since 2009 and comes from a family of educators. His mother taught at Liberty High School and his father was an Assistant Principal in Franklin County and also taught at Liberty. Bennington moved to Warrenton from Herndon with his parents in 1990 and graduated from Fauquier High School in 1997. After graduating from Ferrum College, Jac knew he wanted to do three things. “I wanted to serve my God in a professional manner, I wanted to serve my country in a professional manner and I wanted to serve my state and community in a professional manner,” he said.

After exploring a couple of different career options as a post-graduate, Bennington was considering joining the military. “Joining the military was something I thought about when I was in college, but after actually seeing the events of 9/11 – I saw the smoke at the Pentagon from the rooftop of my apartment building – it pushed me in that direction,” Bennington said. “Then, in June of 2002, I went on a trip to Russia to see a college roommate who was over there. Seeing the lack of opportunity there and how much America had done for me solidified my decision and so that’s why I joined the Army.”

Bennington learned that he was to be stationed in Korea after completing Basic Training and Officer Candidate School and then, upon returning to the states, was stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado. “After serving on Active Duty for about four years, I realized I wanted to do something else,” Bennington said. “I decided that to serve my state and community I could become a teacher. That’s why I got my graduate degree in education from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.”

While finishing his graduate thesis, Bennington was recalled to be put on a deployment to Afghanistan with the Illinois National Guard because they were short on personnel. He worked on a small advisory team that worked on a daily basis with members of the Afghan military to help improve their supply operations from November of 2008 to July of 2009.

After getting married, both Jac and his wife Lindsey wanted to be closer to their family. “My wife’s sister lives in Vienna,” Bennington said. “I applied for a job at Kettle Run High School and in August of 2009, we packed up our stuff and drove from Colorado to Virginia and have been here ever since. My parents still live in the area in Rappahannock.”

Jacob with wife Lindsey, Canaan (7), and Jonathan (5)

Just one year after starting at Kettle Run, Bennington once again heard the call to serve and joined the Virginia National Guard in the fall of 2010. His duties with the National Guard took him to different places throughout the country over the years. “After a while, I wanted to try something different so I applied to become a pilot. I was accepted and went to flight school in Alabama in March of 2019 and finished in June of 2020. I ended up traveling South in October of 2020 as a Lakota helicopter pilot and got back this October.”

In addition to his active involvement in the Virginia National Guard, Bennington and his wife are affiliated with the Warrenton United Methodist Church. He also has two sons, Canaan is seven and Jonathan is five, who both attend Emerald Hill Elementary School.

After returning to Kettle Run and teaching through the pandemic, Bennington had a new perspective and appreciation for not only his colleagues but all teachers. “Whether it’s teaching PE, cosmetology, math, government, science, etc., they’re getting the future of America ready for life after high school,” Bennington said. “They’re doing a lot, especially in regards to what COVID has done to the world of education. They’re trying to get students back on track so that life can be somewhat normal again. I think it’s important that we all have a better understanding of what teachers do on a daily basis and how they prep the future of America.”

Hannah Samlall
About Hannah Samlall 35 Articles
Hannah Samlall is a graduate of Virginia Tech. In 2017, she moved home from The Big Apple to partner with her sister to launch Waterloo Street, a digital marketing agency that offers social media management and content writing for small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she's not working, you can find her exploring outdoors, whipping up a delicious meal or snuggling with her kitten, Dunks.

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