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JACQUELINE BETHEL

US Coast Guard Member & Marathoner

To Jacqueline, bravery means getting up every day not ready for what the world has in store but willing to face it head on. That philosophy was put into tragic perspective on April 16, 2007, when a shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech took 32 lives. Jacqueline was a student at VT at the time, and while no one could ever prepare for such an event, Jacqueline has taken it upon herself since to shoulder the weight of a bad situation when all others walk away.

It’s why she enlisted in the Coast Guard even though it’s a male-dominated field. To be able to wear the uniform every day allows Jacqueline to inspire young women everywhere and show them that anything is possible.

It’s also why she competes in marathons and triathlons all over the country. Jacqueline doesn’t race for herself – although she’s accomplished in her own right. She instead races for the 32 lost at her school that fateful day so that they will never be forgotten.

Whenever Jacqueline competes, she does so in a US Coast Guard mini kilt as a unique way of representing her service. The front of her kilt is adorned with flag patches of the places she’s served in her career, as well as the US flag she wore on deployment. She keeps adding to her kilt to make it a unique piece that represents her love of country and her Scottish/Welsh heritage.

As the rock for so many during difficult times, Jacqueline has immense appreciation for the hardships and joys others have gone through, both in her ancestry and in her university & coastie families. She’s asked questions about her kilt collection at every race, and appreciates the power of kilts to open doors to different cultures and share moments with people you might never have otherwise met.

Out of tragedy comes strength, and Jacqueline especially connects to a line of poetry that emerged following the tragic events at Virginia Tech:

“We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.” 

Jacqueline has overcome so much, and her positive outlook is proof that bravery always stands tallest in the end.

To support Jacqueline as she competes to honor her classmates, visit Tri for 32 on Facebook at facebook.com/trifor32

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Women’s Performance Under-Short

US Coast Guard Mini Kilt