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Heartbreaking Loss & Leadership

April 28, 2020 |
How Heartbreak Has Shaped PenFed Leader Kristy Bolen

PenFed’s Kristy Bolen has faced devastating setbacks in her life, but they’ve shaped her into the leader she is today. Outside of work, Kristy is the proud mother of two Marines and the wife of a Navy veteran. In this Women in Leadership segment, she shares her heartbreaking personal story about an issue rarely discussed in public.

It’s amazing to me to think back, that 20+ years ago, and yet it’s still so raw.

It still is. I’ve suffered three miscarriages. That’s not defining who I am, but it’s helped shape me and know that I can get through tough things.

And it’s not something that a lot of people talk about. It’s extremely emotional. But I feel like, if we don’t share together, I don’t know who needs to hear the message, but it’s gonna help someone someday.

As a servant leader, we need to talk about those difficult times, It’s ok to feel the grief.

That grief won’t leave you. Don’t let it consume you. Let it empower you.

After the third miscarriage, my doctor finally realized that I actually have an autoimmune disorder.

So in a way, those lives that I lost actually saved my life.

So in 1999, I became pregnant with my youngest son and now the active duty Marine.  And I honestly consider him a miracle. Not just because I lost three babies before, but also because when I was six weeks pregnant with him, I was involved in a very serious head-on collision.

And I look at our sons now. They are the most incredible brothers and protectors.

I feel like when you use challenges for the good, you learn and grow from each one of them. You press on towards your goals. You keep pressing forward.

My goal for 2020 is to run 22 miles a week and raise awareness around veteran suicide prevention.

Running and leadership go hand in hand. PenFed has helped me in my running journey by allowing me another platform to share awareness.

Statistics show 22 veterans a day do commit suicide. Every time I read about another veteran losing their life because of suicide,

I feel like that could be my son, or that could be my husband. What goes through my mind when I’m running is just one foot in front of the other, over and over again.

And where that next step takes us, we’re not really sure, and we’re never guaranteed the next step.

I always say that you should live each and every day as a gift, and that’s why today is called the present.

My raising awareness, and sharing the veteran crisis hotline, and logging 22 miles a week, if what I’m doing right now helps one person, it is worth it.


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