Military teaches skills for civilian life
Kristin Peterson didn’t always see the military as her career. When she began looking for colleges, it wasn’t something she had considered. When she decided to go to West Point, she embarked on a career that taught her life long skills, and took her across the globe.
Peterson grew up in Madras, attending school there until she graduated Madras High School in 1982. She then attended West Point, where she eventually became a U.S. Army officer.
During high school, Peterson says conversations with other community members and teachers that had served and attended military academies drove her to consider Westpoint. She says Westpoint was very accommodating as she navigated applying to college and making her decision, and even let her do her physical exam in Madras, instead of driving up to Washington.
She graduated from Westpoint in 1986, and says the adjustment was stark. “When I was growing up Madras was extremely small, and everyone knew everyone,” said Peterson. “If you did something during the day your parent’s new by dinner time. Westpoint was so different to that. I really became a small fish in a big pond. It kind of forced me to get outside my shell and gain confidence.”
She was sent to Germany, where she lived before deploying to the Middle East during operations desert shield and desert storm, and eventually became an army captain.
“Those were very had times for me, and my family,” said Peterson. “When I went into the military, there wasn’t any active war we were fighting in, it was all cold war type operations. This was completely different.”
Peterson says the support she received from the community of Madras and Jefferson County made a huge difference while she was deployed. “My family was constantly supported, and I had so many people here supporting me,” said Peterson. “It made a big difference for me, and I cannot say how grateful I am to this community for that support.”
Peterson stopped being an active service member after having a child, but remained a military spouse for many years, staying involved with the community and supporting other spouses as she moved to military bases across the country.
“I have lived basically across the entire eastern and southern United States, and Germany,” said Peterson. “Moving around really made me adaptable and kind of forced me to be more confident, the military in general gave me a lot of skills I really value still,” said Peterson.
Peterson moved back to Madras to support her father after her mother passed away, she began working at the Jefferson County Library District first at the front desk, and now as the executive assistant.
“I’ve always had a love for reading, and I like getting to see the community here, and share with people all the resources the library has,” said Peterson.
Peterson says she draws largely on skills she gained through the military in her daily life now. From organization to confidence, she says the skills are invaluable.
“I really gained so much from the military. The structure, the routine, the confidence that it builds in you is really important in life,” said Peterson. “I learned so many organizational skills and people skills that I use every single day. It really taught me so much more than things applicable to the military, but to the jobs I’ve had outside of it. I think anyone would benefit greatly from the skills the military teaches you.”