Duty Station: Fort-Lewis
Number of Deployments: 11
Number of PCS's: 2
About the nominee: I am the spouse of an active duty Special Forces Green Beret, Gus as well as, the Gold Star Spouse of Special Forces Green Beret, SSG Michael H. Simpson KIA 1 May 2013 during Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan. Together, Michael and I have two truly incredible boys ages 6 & 8. My priority is teaching them that no matter what situations you go through in life, lead with your faith, and grace will follow. Michael's legacy plays a major role in our lives every day. Gus and I teach our boys to treat and care for others the way our faith teaches us. Strength, resilience and kindness got us through the most difficult of times. I co-founded a nonprofit, The Unquiet Professional (TUP), our mission is to serve Gold Star Families, Military Families and Veterans in order to give back to the very community that showed their unwavering support in our darkest days. I am very blessed to have the opportunity to speak at different events, tell our story, and show that there is life after tragedy and the military life is one we choose. I get to thank supporters personally, connecting them with our community which for some, is the only military connection they will ever have. I feel so blessed to be able to make a difference in the lives of others. Gus supports me in every aspect and my boys love to be a part of our events to serve. At the TUP, we have a dynamic partnership with Heritage Brewing Corporation that has assisted in many programs including one I hold dear to my heart with wear blue: run to remember, the Gold Star Race Program. Running with wear blue has provided me a healthy and empowering way to heal. TUP has works with the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia, WA. Together, we began a Gold Star Family support program that has been adopted by nearly 30 museums. We have developed a Veteran program, The Fresh Air Project, with Paul Joyce from Cyber Business Analytics that enhances the lives of all who participate with a generous sponsorship from Proforce Equipment. This program brings healing to Veterans while also bridging the gap between them and the civilian community. I am the Green Beret Foundation (GBF) Gold Star Liaison for Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) where I am given the opportunity to represent the GBF and assist Gold Star families within the Special Forces community here in WA and nationwide. I am a member of the Steel Magnolia JBLM Chapter. This is a special sisterhood program of Green Beret wives, sisters, mothers and adult daughters of active, retired and fallen who encourage one another, support our special forces community and families. I sit on the board and work closely with the Gold Star Sailing organization that was founded to create a weeklong summer camp for Gold Star teens with a focus on team building, leadership, and character development through a hands-on sailing adventure. I serve on the advisory board for Raise for Rowyn (RFR) which was founded in the wake of 17 month old Rowyn Johnson’s passing to provide financial assistance and emotional support to families struggling with the loss of a child. To date RFR has helped 170 families. I also serve on the speaker’s board for Folds of Honor (FOH) where my sons receive scholarships (K-12) to attend St. Michael’s Parish School. FOH empowers me to speak at fundraising events nationwide where I am given the opportunity, again, to share our beautiful story. Currently, I am enrolled at St. Martin’s University with a Religious Studies major. I hope to build my knowledge, strength and respect for the religious beliefs of others in order to serve them better. This education opportunity allows me to serve our community in a greater capacity that includes my faith, fellowship and service. When Gus retires after service and we choose our “forever home” I would love to use my degree in community and volunteer service so that I can serve the military community in a greater capacity. I am proud to be a military spouse.
Hobbies: My hobbies include volunteering in our community, learning, and travel.
Interesting Facts: Today our life is everything military. I did not grow up in a military family and did not know anything about the military until I married.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? Fortitude and, sometimes, it truly does “take a village”.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? The lack of awareness in our civilian communities. Trying to fit in somewhere when others don’t recognize the uncertainty of our lives. It’s not a judgement, just an observation. This is something I work on in our community.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? Being a part of something bigger than ourselves and having a community of others that feel the same way.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? One day I was a military spouse. The next I was a military widow. Having remarried, I am once again a proud military spouse and I want other military spouses to see through my journey that we all have the strength to get through anything. I want to bring awareness to who we are as military spouses and what we do for our nation through our families. I want to be a light for those who may be sitting in the darkness. I want people to be able to ask me the hard questions because my answers will be honest and true. I want to show others that military spouses are fierce and graceful. I want to empower not only military spouse, but all women, to be who they are meant to be. I want to prove that following your husband doesn’t mean you're weak and highlight the selfless service we provide daily. I would also like to further our initiatives with the Gold Star Family Support Program museum project to make this a nationwide program. All children have the ability to soar when given the tools. Children’s museums nationwide provide those tools and we want them to pass these opportunities on to Gold Star children, free of charge. When tragedy strikes the simplest task may seem overwhelming. We want to make it as easy as possible for families of the fallen to put themselves in a happy, healthy and inspirational environment.
Reasons for nominating:
Krista is one of the most giving, self-sacrificing women I have ever had the honor of meeting. After losing her husband, Mike, in Afghanistan in 2013, Krista immediately decided to give back to the communities that supported her and her family through their tragedy. She, along with her sons and her current active duty husband, Gus, honor Mike and our military members through The Unquiet Professional (TUP); the nonprofit she founded to support veterans and their families through the hardships of military life. She works tirelessly to assist other gold star families and veterans. I am in awe of her ability to bring hope from tragedy and her endless capacity to love others. She embodies the “make it happen” spirit I so cherish in our military spouse community. She raises her children, supports her husband, and runs the organization on both coasts during deployments and the rigors of military life. It is a privilege to watch her spring to action when a military veteran or family reaches out to her through TUP. She answers the call and goes above and beyond to make sure any needs are met by pulling resources and doing all she can to ease the burden. In addition to her work through TUP, Krista also gives and supports other military families out of her own pocket and her own time whenever needs arise that fall outside of TUP's mission. Recently she returned to school to pursue her Bachelors Degree in Religious Studies. When asked why she shared that along with personal reasons she would like to, “build my knowledge, strength and respect for the religious beliefs of others in order to serve them better. Our military is such a beautiful melting pot which incorporates their beliefs. I hope this will allow me to serve our community in a greater capacity that will include faith, fellowship and service”. Krista is truly one of the most generous and compassionate humans I’ve ever met, she does it all, and it’s amazing to see. -- Lauren Nakazono, Fellow Military Spouse