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.