At this year’s Spring Awards Dinner, we’re honoring Jennifer Leigh Dunnett as our Activist of the Year! Recently, we sat down with Jen and asked her to share a little bit about herself.
Where did you grow up?
On my parents farm between Coloma and Westfield, WI
Where did you go to school?
I attended Madison Area Technical College and graduated with a diploma in Data Enty Operations.
Have you always been pro-life?
I think deep down I was always pro-life. I knew I could never have an abortion myself but I always felt I couldn’t tell another woman she shouldn’t. It wasn’t until I converted to the Catholic faith that I learned the realities of abortion.
How did you become involved full-time pro-life work?
After converting to Catholic faith a fellow tenant in my apartment complex car broke down. I offered to drive him places if needed. This person was Will Goodman, director of the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Little did I know that this was going to lead to becoming a full-time volunteer with the SOLG a few years later.
What do the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe do? What is your role?
The mission of the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe is prayer, study of the church’s teachings, and missionary outreach. I am a full-time volunteer with the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
What is your favorite aspect of pro-life work?
My favorite aspect would probably have to be training other sidewalk counselors, and next would be sidewalk counseling, though sometimes it is very challenging.
Do you have any great stories from your time with SOLG?
The best story I have to share is the story of Baby Zion. PLW has actually shared this story in the Monday Update.
Mark Kimble who used to be a Madison resident and was involved with PLW Dane county and myself were out at the Planned Parenthood one summer Friday in 2009. Mark saw a man outside smoking. Mark decided to call him over to talk. The man did come over. He told Mark that his girlfriend was pregnant and they couldn’t afford the child. The man didn’t want to abort his child.
Through the conversation it was learned she was going to take RU-486. While Mark was talking to him I was able to hand him some pamphlets. Mark convinced him to go back in and get her out of there. He went back in and in about 10 minutes they came out. She was driving the car as they drove out so I went to her side of the car. They did stop but she wouldn’t look at me. I talked to them and offered assistance. The father wrote my phone number on the pamphlets I gave them. After they left we got out the prayer requests for them.
Weeks went by and you figure you probably aren’t going to hear from them. One day I was by some friends and my cell phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize.
Something told me I better answer it. When I did there was a man on the phone and he said “Is this Jen?” I said, “yes.” He said this Melord, we decided to keep the baby and we need help! I was filled with joy and excitement at the same time. I congratulated them and asked questions. I told him I needed to get in touch with people in the Madison area that could help and I would call him back.
By the end of the week Mark Kimble, Steve Karlen, and myself met them at Care Net on the east side. We found out what their immediate needs were. Mark did what he could to help them with their immediate need which was moving. We also started trying to help Melord find a job. It was also agreed on that we would throw them a baby shower but it would be best after the baby was born. It so happened the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe were asked to bring the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Madison for Good Friday. Early Friday, April 2, 2010 I received a call from Sara and Melord that little Baby Zion was born at 12:02am. The first Baby on Good Friday morning. We were able to go visit them in the hospital and hold him.
Now you know a little about Jen! Come honor this wonderful pro-life warrior at our Spring Awards Dinner!