By Staff Sgt. Frank Casciotta
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The Air Force Reserve Command’s 960th Network Operations Squadron Key Spouse, here, was named the 2018 Air Force Spouse of the Year by Armed Forces Insurance and Military Spouse Magazine.
“I almost cried when I found out,” said Kristen Christy, the first spouse of an Air Force reservist to receive the honor. “It is such an honor and this isn’t about me. It’s about the work for the military families.”
Since taking on the role of the 960th NOS Key Spouse three years ago, Christy has earned a reputation for her enthusiasm building relationships and supportiveness for the squadron’s reservists.
The Key Spouse Program is an official Air Force program designed to enhance readiness and build unit cohesion outside the workplace.
“She has worked hard to give us a sense of community,” said Lt. Col. Anita Edmonds, the 960th NOS commander. “She’s always there for families. Whether they are struggling with personal issues, or brining in a new baby. She even reached out to me and let me know about free resources for my children while my husband was deployed.”
Christy has overcome hardships in life and found success despite them.
Just before her 16th birthday, Christy, now a senior proposal specialist at a local defense contracting company, suffered a stroke.
“Three weeks after playing a world-class tennis player and two weeks after I won the golf championship for all (Department of Defense) high schools in Germany,” Christy said. “I experienced a massive stroke on my right, which is my dominant, side.”
Doctors told her parents she may not live and if she did that she would never walk again and possibly have extensive brain damage.
It took Christy a year and a half to learn to walk again and now writes with her left hand.
“This is my silver lining,” said Christy, referring to her shock of white hair across her bangs. “It grew in my stroke. It reminds me whenever I look in the mirror that there is a silver lining to everything. We may not know what that is for a while, but it gives me hope.”
Taking that outlook on life no doubt played a role when she faced one of the toughest challenges life can bring. Christy lost her first husband to suicide 10 years ago after he returned from a deployment. She has since dedicated herself toward suicide prevention programs.
Christy’s compassion and ability to find silver linings is not limited to her husband’s squadron, though. She currently sits on six volunteer and community group boards working to gather resources and help make changes affecting the military community as a whole.
Currently, Christy is the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Corporation Military Affairs Council vice chair. The Military Affairs Council works to support local military installations and strengthen their relationship with the surrounding community and associated industries.
Christy is married to Tech. Sgt. Sean Lange, a 960th NOS boundary technician, who she met on an online dating site. They have been married four years.
According to the magazine’s press release, Christy competed against 800 other nominees to earn her award. This month, she will find out if she will be named Military Spouse of the Year competing against five other finalists from other military branches.
The 960th NOS is a geographically separated Reserve unit stationed here belonging to the 960th Cyberspace Operations Group, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.