The Importance of building your community

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell
  • Altus Air Force Base Public Affairs

The 97th Air Mobility Wing celebrated their first “Up Day,” which focused on Airmen through messages about motivation, resiliency and health, Feb. 18, 2020. One of the guest speakers, military spouse Kristen Christy, had a message for Airmen.

“In life you are given the test and then you learn the lesson,” said Christy.

Christy was the 2018 Air Force Spouse of the Year and since then has shared her story across the nation. Just in 2019, she visited 30 locations and did 79 presentations to active duty members, spouses and veterans. Christy has a lot of experience with adversity and loss so she emphasizes the power that a community has for someone in need.

“After the loss of my first husband, all it took was one phone call for my community to come support me,” said Christy. “That’s why I advocate for people to build their community because that’s what helped me in my time of need. I love traveling because I get to experience something new, expand my community and assist with others.”

Christy has been sharing her story for 18 months now and hopes it helps others by hearing what she went through.

 “I’ve never been afraid of public speaking, but opening up my heart, was scary,” said Christy. “The first time I was asked to speak, it took me a week to prepare, but talking about it was healing and freeing for me. I feel like at least one person needs to hear my story every time I tell it and that’s why I do it.”

While visiting the 97th AMW she also experienced what aircrew at the mighty 97th  do on a daily basis at Altus AFB.

“I was excited about coming to speak and to get the opportunity to fly,” said Christy. “The fact that the base is doing this for me makes me feel special. I get to take an experience with the Airmen of the C-17 [Globemaster III] and build a relationship with their community. I am honored and humbled to receive this opportunity; I’m just an ordinary person who is trying to do some good in a global community.”

Christy encourages people to reach out to others and assist with carrying the weight of life’s problems. She does this to remind individuals that others are willing to help overcome obstacles and that no one is alone on the battlefield of life.

“The Air Force is about three things; air superiority, space superiority and cyber superiority,” said Christy. “I want to help with human superiority because without that no one can accomplish those domains.”

The military itself is a community comprised of individuals across all walks of life and through their communities they are stronger together.