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Patriotism, personified

Frances Camp spreads the spirit from Washington, D.C., to Houston

Created date

July 14th, 2009
Eagle s Trace resident Frances Camp knows a thing or two about politics. She was whisked into D.C. s bustling political life as the frequent host of campaign fund-raisers and dinner parties during her 30 years there. It s hard to live in Washington and not get involved, she says. That s just the way it is. Camp felt like she was living history, attending several parties at the White House and foreign embassies. Her late husband, John Camp, was a prominent D.C. lawyer who at one time represented their native state of Louisiana in dealings with the federal government. The Camps had dinner at the White House the last night of President Jimmy Carter s term. And for a while, they lived in the Watergate Apartments, home to the infamous burglary that led to President Richard Nixon s resignation. Doing for her country Even before living in D.C., Camp knew she wanted to serve her country. During World War II when she was a few years out of nursing school, she told her parents she was going to help the war effort. I was walking home one day when I saw my mother packing up, Camp says. I asked her where she was going and she said, Not me, you. Camp laughs as she tells the story of how her parents sent her to Southern Methodist University for a year of schooling. They weren t going to have a daughter in the Navy, she explains. Later, when she was married and living in Washington, D.C., Camp found her niche in the U.S. State Department s Hospitality and Information Service, which helps more than 4,000 foreign diplomats and their families adjust to living in the U.S. each year. That was some of the most interesting work I ever did, she says. Part of something greater Now happily settled at Eagle s Trace in Houston, Camp is at home among neighbors who share her benevolent nature. The people here have good southern hospitality, Camp says. Everybody is friendly and speaks to everybody else. People look after you. She started an afternoon bridge club at Eagle s Trace and says it s easy to find like-minded people who want to get involved in just about any kind of activity. If you start it, they will come, she says. For example, the Great Decisions discussion group formed in the spring to talk about global issues. So what does Camp think about the current political situation? Despite the overarching sense of disillusionment about government, she says, there are plenty of opportunities for good: That s what politics is really about helping people.