Chenango Stories: Colby Cooper
Published: February 5th, 2008
By: Jill Kraft

Chenango Stories: Colby Cooper

Knowing early in life he wanted to serve his country, Oxford’s Colby Cooper followed that dream all the way to the White House.

Cooper, an Oxford Academy graduate, says he was only six years old when his feeling of patriotism evolved.

In 1986 while on a family trip to Dallas, Texas to the spot where John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Cooper said he knew he would one day serve his country.

“I was only 10, but that is where my love for country comes from,” said Cooper.

Following graduation from Oxford in 1994, Cooper earned an appointment to West Point and he started on his journey of becoming a serviceman. In time, Cooper sustained a shoulder injury from playing football and learned the severity of the injury was severe enough to disqualify him from joining the military indefinitely.

Cooper says he was still determined to serve his country in some capacity and went on to receive a four-year degree from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, majoring in international relations. “ I decided to serve the country in a civil service capacity instead,” he said.

A strong work ethic landed Cooper in the nation’s capital in the summer of 1999. He says he had no job when he got there, only an indication of what he wanted to become.

“My first job after college was being a temp at a law firm and a doorman at Georgetown bar in the summer of 1999,” said Cooper.

He says he began to send his resume to members of Congress hoping someone would respond. “I must have mailed every member of Congress, but in the end I received very little response,” he said.

At the time, the country was trying to collect and implement measures to prepare for the anticipated Y2K computer dilemma, and that’s when Colby took the first step in the direction he ultimately wanted to go in.

By March of 2000, Cooper had applied and was hired at the National Security Council in the White House. In this capacity, Cooper explains he filled in for many regional and geographical expertise areas. “I was called a roving secretary, meaning I went where I was needed,” he said.

“It was there that I saw the opportunity to advance,” he said. Colby was assigned to work at Camp David and the experience he learned in nine months there was highly valuable to his career.

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