Duty Station: Naval Air Station Patuxent River
Number of Deployments: 3
Number of PCS's: 3
Share your military spouse story:
My husband and I met in high school and were married just a few weeks before he left for bootcamp, and I wasn't sure what life would look like, but I was up for the adventure and that's exactly what it would be! After leaving bootcamp he would head to Pensacola for training, so I followed him there and got a tiny apartment to see him on the weekends and made the best memories out of it before our first duty station in Pax River. MD. We had our first daughter there so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I made great friends there and we really were blessed with a great first duty station. Then it was time to pack up and move to Florida, Jacksonville to be exact. I found friends quickly and thankfully got involved in an Enlisted spouse club associated with our command that helped keep me busy and introduce me to people. We lived in base housing for a while in Jax, so that also made it very easy to make some amazing friendships that I still have to this day as well. In Jax we had our second daughter, and then as we all know though time moves quick, and it was time for orders once again. So we were grateful to find out we were staying, and he just had to go to Mayport, so we built a home base and bought a home! We lived in Florida for little over 7 years and it really felt like home, and I didn't think I would ever want to leave. Then the orders came, and we found out we were headed to Norfolk, and I was terrified haha, but we moved, and I found the HRCPOSA and I found my friends, and my job and every time you do it you realize, oh yeah, I am resilient, I can do this. Now I live here as a Geo-bach wife and my husband lives in Pax River, MD again, so we see each other on the weekends, it's not ideal but it can be done. So, yes, I was nervous, yes, I didn't want to leave behind this support system I had built but now I have that all over again and I love it here and its home and I wouldn't change it for the world!
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I have served on the Hampton Roads Chief Petty Officer Spouse Association board as a treasurer for 2 years in 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 and then was elected President of the association the following year. So, from 2021 to present I have served as the President of the HRCPOSA.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I currently serve on the board of the HRCPOSA which volunteers in not only the military community but the Hampton Roads community as a whole. We as an association give back two scholarships in May of each year to Chief dependents as well. I also have been an Ombudsman for HSC-22 for the last three and a half years. I volunteer for such events as the MFAN food drive thru events when they are here as well as being an Operation Homefront volunteer for the backpack brigade and the Holiday toy drive.
Describe how you support your community:
With the HRCPOSA we have gone out into the community and served by cleaning up the parks at Mt. Trashmore on the day of The Great American Clean up. We have also donated to organizations such as the Fisher House, and the ASYMCA for their food Pantry. No matter whether we are donating, going to businesses for events or doing work in the community we always try to support Military or Veteran owned businesses.
What do you advocate for? Why?
My biggest thing I advocate for is volunteerism, actually getting up, getting out and being present. We are in a day and age where a lot of people are so busy, which I understand, as am I, but if we don't get out there and put our hands to work and see people and talk to people, I don't think it has the same impact. There are so many people struggling today, military families being a big part of that and a lot of them with too much pride to say that they need help and if we don't get out there and smile and maybe shake their hand or give them a hug and say, hey it's going to be okay and this little bit may not be the fix today, but I hope it helps a little, then who's going to do it? It takes just a few to start the ball rolling, and hopefully the rest will follow.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have done most of my communication about where I will be and what I am volunteering with through my social media or through sharing with my husband's Mess. I made sure to build those personal relationships within the Mess and make them aware any time I may have something going on that the sailors and their families could benefit from. The HRCPOSA also shares all of our info of what we will be doing via our social media as well.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I would hope that if I accomplish anything it would be that more people would want to be more active in their community, see that it is possible. No matter what your role is at home, or at work. There is always a place for you, and a possibility for you to be involved. There is always a need for more hands and more awareness of the needs in the military community so if I were to want anything from me being shown on this platform that would be it.
I am nominating Kursten because she is one of the most deserving milspouses I know. Her passion for for the military community is never ending.
She has served our Navy community in so many different capacities continually going above and beyond in her role as an ombudsman for the wing community.
Kursten is also currently serving as the president for the Hampton Roads Chief Petty Officer Spouse Association, where they partner with community organizations in the area to give back to our local military families. The HRCPOSA also gives out multiple scholarships to deserving CPO Spouses and dependents at an amazing gala yearly.
Kirsten is the epitome of what the Navy needs leading us spouses. She’s genuine and her passion for the mission is endless.
- by Anna Clark