‘Happy Abby’ – Mother remembers Fort Bragg paratrooper who died in training accident

Cumberland County News

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) – The smiling baby who loved animals was nicknamed “Happy Abby.”

“She was always very happy and positive, and she always saw the good in everybody and everything,” Mary Jenks said about her daughter.

Army Spc. Abigail Jenks, 20, was one of only a few women serving as a Fire Support Specialist in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. She died Monday during a training accident.

“She’s a risk taker, she’s an adventure seeker, so she felt like this would be a good fit for her.”

A confident young paratrooper, Abby was also a talented artist.

“I always knew she was going to succeed in whatever she did because whatever she did she was good at automatically,” Jenks said.

Abby found love at Fort Bragg. She was planning to marry a fellow paratrooper later this year.

“She was so excited. That was one of the things that she was really looking forward to.”

This past Christmas was the last time Mary saw her daughter.

“It really was the best Christmas ever.”

Abby got her mom jewelry, with the names of each of the four siblings written on it.

“Inside of it she wrote, ‘We love you mom.’”

Mary was working her long nursing shift in New York Monday when she saw Abby post a picture of herself from Fort Bragg. Abby was getting ready for a static line jump from a helicopter.

“I was like, ‘Oh you’ve got this and good luck,’” Jenks said. “Later on I asked, ‘How was your jump?’ She didn’t respond.”

Abby died during that parachute jump. The Army is investigating what went wrong.

“I’ve had so much support from the Army and they’ve really taken really good care of me,” Jenks said. “I’m grieving myself, but I’m also grieving for other people who ever knew her because they’re hurting as well.”

Mary said her daughter dreamed of being a mother. Abby recently had three miscarriages.

Mary says she knows her daughter is in heaven with her babies.

“I know a lot of parents could say a lot of good things about their children, but Abby certainly was very special.”

The family has requested any donations in Abby’s honor please be made to the Saratoga Springs, NY YMCA. They say the organization has helped their family with scholarships before, and Abby loved going there to swim and workout after school.

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