William & Mary

Silent stories

  • A soldier in uniform smiles at the camera while marching with others
    Training:  Students in the ROTC program participate in training exercises including a “ruck march” through Williamsburg with full gear.  Photo by Alfred Herczeg
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The following story originally appeared in the spring 2019 issue of the W&M Alumni Magazine. - Ed.

Soldiers and veterans at W&M speak up

Charles Bowery ’92 stood among flags and headstones, waiting in Arlington National Cemetery for the funeral of Jim Dorsey ’60.

For 25 years, Dorsey served in the U.S. Army, completing two tours in Vietnam and retiring as a lieutenant colonel. After his military career, he worked at Jamestown Settlement and lived in Williamsburg, Virginia. Dorsey was a regular at campus events and football games, driving a truck covered in W&M decals.

A few years before his death, Dorsey approached the Alumni Association with plans to relaunch the Association of 1775 (Ao75), William & Mary’s military, veterans and government alumni group, which had been inactive for years. Around the same time, Bowery had a similar idea, and behind the scenes they worked to reinvigorate the organization.

Ao75 is now back in action and moving forward.

Networks are strengthening and infrastructure is growing. Part of a larger, campus-wide focus on William & Mary’s veterans services, Bowery, staff across campus and others are working hard to improve the organization, sometimes on nights and weekends.

But Dorsey, who passed away in January 2018, didn’t see the results of their success. He saw only preparation, a glimpse of the vision: to give those who’ve served and sacrificed so much the community they deserve. That vision, though, was the first step toward the eventual reality. By believing, Dorsey helped others see.

So Bowery stood there, on the dry, cloudy January day, and waited to tell the story of Jim Dorsey, one story of thousands in a nearly 250-year university legacy; a veteran, a William & Mary graduate, a man who made his nation — and his alma mater — proud.

Read the full story on the William & Mary Alumni Magazine website.