Badgers football: An early homecoming as U.S. Army Reservist makes surprise return from Afghanistan

2013-09-23T09:30:00Z Badgers football: An early homecoming as U.S. Army Reservist makes surprise return from staff
September 23, 2013 9:30 am  • 

When U.S. Army Reserve Captain Jane Renee "JR" Lund of Madison began her six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in April, she knew what would make it the most challenging.

"Being away from my daughter, Isabella, family and friends," Lund wrote in a blog on the Globe University Website.

Indeed, it was. But the reunion Saturday of Lund and her 13-year-old daughter Bella made the end of their time apart seem so much more special. 

During the first half of the Badgers' 41-10 win over Purdue at Camp Randall Stadium, the UW — as it does every home game — honored its Military Family of the Game. Bella Lund took the field near the south end zone alongside Bucky Badger while this script was read over the public-address system:

"Fans, it’s time to honor our Military Family of the Game. Joined by Bucky on the field, today we recognize 13-year old Bella Lund of Madison. Bella is an eighth-grader at Jefferson Middle School. She is an avid Badger fan and enjoys playing and competing in both volleyball and cross country.

"We also salute Bella’s mother, Captain Jane Renee Lund, better known as J.R. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, J.R. functions as a veterinarian in U.S. Army Reserves. Since April, she has been serving our country in Afghanistan providing agricultural education to Afghans and providing care to military working dogs. Once her tour is complete, J.R. plans to return home in October to be reunited with Bella and the rest of her family.

"But Bella, sometimes plans change.

"Ladies and gentlemen at this time, please direct your attention to the south end zone, and Bella turn around and welcome home your mother, Captain Jane Renee Lund!"

A crowd of 80,772 stood and cheered loudly as did Badgers players and coaches during the extended TV timeout. Against that backdrop, mother and daughter shared a long hug ... and a moment neither will ever forget.

Follow Rob Hernandez on Twitter at @RobHernandezWSJ

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(14) Comments

  1. witness2012
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    witness2012 - September 23, 2013 10:06 pm
    What a beautiful moment for such a beautiful family.
  2. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - September 23, 2013 11:08 am
    In the accompanying video interview, she said she'd been in the States for about a week and had gotten to Madison about 30 hours before game time.

    This is one of the most uplifting news stories I've seen in longer than I care to think about, and I'm sharing it with a whole flock of my friends who aren't as fortunate as I am to live here.
    Report Abuse
    ABDGRFN - September 22, 2013 5:15 pm
    It was awesome to be in CR to witness this. I doubt that there was a dry eye in section I.

    On Wisconsin
  4. Bigtenwi
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    Bigtenwi - September 22, 2013 11:19 am
    It doesn't matter if she had just gotten off the plane or was there for a day. She and UW wanted to give her daughter a special way to say hello after being gone. What a great moment.

    On Wisconsin!
  5. GaryRobbins
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    GaryRobbins - September 22, 2013 11:15 am
    "She had almost certainly been in Madison for a few days"? Really?
    And what facts to you have to make us believe your statement to be true, that you know better than the rest of us? Other than your just wanting to ruin a nice moment for some people, and peeing in the Cheerios?
  6. uwjeff
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    uwjeff - September 22, 2013 11:12 am
    Best moment of yesterday's game -- I was there and I know the eyes got moist -- proud to be a Badger and been able to share this mother and daughter reunion.
  7. Buckyz
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    Buckyz - September 22, 2013 9:46 am
    Very touching moment indeed. But, let's not act like Captain Lund just stepped off the plane on Saturday morning to greet her daughter. This was a made for TV moment and she had almost certainly been in Madison for a few days.
  8. lunker
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    lunker - September 22, 2013 9:16 am
    It was absolutely wonderful to see this reunion, very touching. Give us the rest of the story though. How did the UW pull this off and how did they know the story of this family? How did they know JR would be coming home early, etc. Come on get the scoop and share it please.
  9. wintermom9597
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    wintermom9597 - September 22, 2013 8:49 am
    By far the best moment in The Camp all day yesterday. Not a dry eye in our row!
  10. retired
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    retired - September 22, 2013 7:39 am
    It seems that all we read about today is misery. NOT TODAY !! UW this is wonderful thing u are doing. What a breath of fresh air. Welcome home mom !!!!
  11. Davisra
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    Davisra - September 22, 2013 1:39 am
    Purdue's football team, coaches & fans were cheering, too, not just the Badger players & coaches.
  12. Bucky24
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    Bucky24 - September 21, 2013 8:54 pm
    It was beautiful to watch..... so many fans were moved.
  13. Cornelius Gotchberg
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    Cornelius Gotchberg - September 21, 2013 8:39 pm

    Copy that!!

    The Gotch
  14. legalizeit
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    legalizeit - September 21, 2013 8:19 pm
    That is sweet as it gets...
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