Celebrating Kirsten Holley, U.S. Army Veteran

This occupational therapist is saving lives and inspiring all - in and out of the military

Honoring U.S. Army Veteran Kirsten Holley, our July 2019 Missilette

Being Brave Enough to Follow Her Calling

Coming from a long line of military family members, honor and selfless service represent core values for Kirsten.  She received her commission through Reserve Officer Training Course, and entered active duty as an occupational therapist.  Serving and treating wounded and/or injured service members was so much more than just a profession to Kirsten, she truly believes it was a calling.    

U.S. Army Veteran Kirsten Holley, during her time on active duty

Serving In Combat

In 2012, Kirsten deployed to Afghanistan and credits this experience as the #1 most challenging, influential, and rewarding timeframe of her professional career.  This opportunity was a culminating event for her clinical skillset as she addressed the mind, body, and spirit of service members with upper extremity injuries, emotional/physiological concerns, and/or sustained traumatic brain injuries. Kirsten felt like she had the most impact on service members in this setting since her work often began within the first few hours after injury and could last for a few days to a few weeks.

"I believe that sometimes the bad times in our life put us on a direct path to the very best times in our life… you just need to be respective and elicit mental flexibility."

Kirsten Holley, on maintaining an outlook of survival

Stepping Back Into Life: After Trauma

Kirsten was present for the physical and emotional rollercoasters that service members experience throughout post injury.  Her deep sense of internal strength allowed her to help provide them with the reassurance, confidence, and coping skills necessary in order to return to life outside of treatment.  Deployment also taught Kirsten important lessons regarding mental resiliency, such as perspective, finding the joy in bad situations, and the physical/emotional power of a simple laugh or smile. 

Finding Meaning Outside of Military Service

Kirsten recently transitioned out of the military after serving 9 years.  Today, she struggles with this transition on a daily basis; experiencing periods of significant grief and loss.  Immediately following coming off active duty, Kirsten moved to Michigan with her husband and two young sons in support of her husband’s military career.  As if leaving the military wasn’t hard enough, moving to a state in which she didn’t know anyone, and staying home with her sons full time, Kirsten quickly began to feel isolated, overwhelmed, and struggled to find a higher sense of purpose and meaning within her civilian life. 

Kirsten and her family, 2019

Advice For Strong Women

Kirsten relied heavily on her resiliency and faith during the tough times.  A significant turning point for Kirsten (during her adjustment to civilian life) has been meeting the like-minded ladies that are part of HelloMissilia and the Michigan Women of the Military Peer Support Group Program.  The bond with these ladies is unparalleled to any civilian friendship. 

Recreational therapy: salmon fishing trip for female Veterans, 2019 (Kirsten in purple, right)

Through the recreational opportunities the women participate in, and simply the camaraderie shared amongst them, Kirsten feels she is not only on a path of healing, but is also able to seek the desire to serve and lead a meaningful life in other ways.

How You Can Support The Mission:

In recognition of Kirsten's strength and courage to be overcome adversity, Dave LaLonde, a fellow Veteran and owner of Rifle Marketing, is making it possible for us to share her story.  Rifle Marketing is treating Kirsten to a 1-year subscription to the HelloMissilia box.  If your company or organization supports strong women, please consider sponsoring our heroes by checking out our Sponsorship Information or emailing info@hellomissilia.com.

You can help ensure that stories of women who kick butt, like Kirsten, are being shared and celebrated!  Every month, we feature the story of a U.S. female Hero in our HelloMissilia Box.  Subscribe today- your membership keeps encouraging women to do great things https://hellomissilia.com/products/hellomissilia-box