Samantha Allen (Lightbourn)

Samantha  Allen (Lightbourn)

Army budget analyst Samantha Allen was known as a fastidious worker who kept track not only of her own work, but also of accounts under the control of fellow budget employees.

She came by her devotion to government work honestly: She inherited it. Her father, Raymond Lightbourn Sr., served in the Navy during World War II and then spent 50 years working in civil service. All 12 of his children followed his example.

"All of us have worked for the government, whether as cops, firefighters, civil service or in the military," said Navy Quartermaster 1st Class Raymond Lightbourn Jr., one of Allen's brothers. Allen, 36, got a job working for the Army as a civilian clerk 10 years ago and worked her way up to budget analyst.

She was at her job in the Pentagon Sept. 11 working on the upcoming budget when a hijacked plane slammed into the building, killing her.

News of the attack sent Raymond Lightbourn Jr.--who lives nearby and was on his day off--on a search throughout Washington, D.C. looking for his sister.

Because of the traffic gridlock, he hopped on a bike and made the ride to several area hospitals, then to the Pentagon and then back to several more hospitals trying to find her.

"I kept trying to figure out if it was the other side of the building from where she worked" that the plane hit, Lightbourn Jr. said. "But it wasn't."

Allen, a mother of two, was a born-again Christian who gave a lot of her time to her church and then spent the rest of her waking hours keeping up with her 16-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.

She has a twin sister, Rennea Butler, who has been devastated by the loss, Lightbourn Jr. said.

But it has been hard for all of the family to grieve while they waited for the discovery of Allen's body.

"We're all kind of in limbo now," Lightbourn Jr. said.

Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

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