2018 Air Force Spouse of the Year shares story of resiliency, community with 624 RSG Airmen

  • Published
  • By Kelly Owens
  • 624th Regional Support Group

Kristen Christy knows a thing or two about facing – and overcoming – adversity.

The 2018 Air Force Spouse of the Year, Christy has had more than her share of seismic bumps in the road. As a result of these life lessons, Christy travels the globe, sharing a message of hope, resilience and community with others in an effort to inspire and encourage.

One of her recent trips was to the 624 Regional Support Group where she spoke with Hawaii-based Reserve Citizen Airmen, sharing her story during the April UTA. Here, Christy told her story, which included suffering a stroke as a teenager, ending her promising tennis and golf careers, as well as the devastating loss of her first husband, an Airman well on his way to climbing the Air Force ranks.

Don Christy took his own life just three days before pinning the rank of Colonel. His death had rippling and lasting effects on the entire family, including two sons, Ben and Ryan.

While Christy continues to carry unanswered questions more than a decade later, she credits her community with helping her through her roughest days.

Embedding herself within and leaning on her community is a strategy she learned as a child as she moved every two years with her family to follow her father’s Air Force career. And it’s a strategy she encourages Airmen to lean on for strength when they are going through a painful life event.

“When you’re going through it,” said Christy, “it’s the community that lessens the pain.”

Christy’s presentation served as a communication-starter for the Airmen in attendance and reminded them of what it means to be a good wingman.

“Resiliency is one of the key factors that we are laser-focused on building and nurturing within our ranks,” said Col. Joseph R. Orcutt, current commander of the 624 RSG. “But building resiliency is often the result of making it through difficult circumstances, or, as Ms. Christy puts it: we get the pop quiz first, and then we learn the lesson. It’s a reminder that each of us has a responsibility to check on our wingmen, reach out and support each other because we are all part of the same community.”

Christy continues to travel across the country spreading her powerful message and encouraging others to seek assistance or provide help along the way.

If you or anyone you know is in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press “1” for the military crisis line. You can also text 838255 or chat online.