Master Sgt. Kristin Clark helps guide young airmen, helping them decide which direction their military careers should take.
After 13 years as a member of the Air Force security forces — the service’s law enforcement branch — Clark now works at Peterson Air Force Base as a career assistance adviser.
“I love helping people figure out their futures,” she said. “That’s the most rewarding thing I do.”
After 19 years in the Air Force, Clark is a mere year away from retirement, and she’s uncertain about what she’ll do next.
“I just don’t know what I want to do,” she said. “I tell people I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”
But she is preparing for her separation from the Air Force, obtaining a master’s degree in corporate training to supplement her decades of military service.
Clark serves as an outstanding role model for the younger airmen, said Lt. Col Isaac Davidson, commander of her unit.
“(Her) greatest achievement is being an outstanding role model, a well-rounded person,” he said in nominating her as a woman of influence. “Almost 20 years in the Air Force, wife, mother, student and dedicated community servant. (Her) most notable work is with the DoD marrow program.”
Clark recently took over a five-state region for the Department of Defense blood marrow registration system. The system now accepts civilian registrants, and Clark has signed up about 1,500 people in Colorado Springs area since January.
“It’s an easy thing to get on the registry,” she said. “Just a few swabs with a Q-tip. Then, if you match someone who needs a marrow transplant, then you’ll get a call. There are about 5.5 million people in the registry now.”
Clark was the first to bring registration into the local community, Davidson said.
Clark works closely with Memorial Health System, coordinating marrow drives with the hospital’s blood drives.
When she isn’t volunteering as director of the blood marrow registry program, she serves on the Better Business Bureau “Excellence in Customer Service” program. She helped survey businesses for the coveted award this year. She’s also a member of the Ridgeview Elementary PTA.
Clark is married to a retired Air Force airman, and they have two sons. The family likes to attend sporting events and movies. Clark also enjoys reading and crafts.
She joined the military after two years of law enforcement education in college. She wanted to join the Minneapolis Police Department, but they weren’t hiring women at the time, so she worked in a clerical job for the FBI and then joined the military.
“I really wanted a job in law enforcement,” she said. “And the Air Force seemed like a good way to have one.”
She served two tours in Turkey as part of the security forces. She has won several military awards, including Law Enforcement Specialist of the Year and Junior Enlisted Instructor of the Year. She received the 2005 Military Outstanding Volunteer Service medal at Peterson and was a 1993 Top Ten Outstanding Young Americans Nominee at Lackland Air Force Base.
She also won the John Levitow Award at the Airman Leadership School in Lackland and Volunteer of the Year in Ankara Air Station in Turkey.
Clark has a bachelor’s degree from Colorado Christian University and an associate degree from the Community College of the Air Force. Her community service includes not only the time she provides to the blood marrow registry, but work in Colorado Springs schools.
Her family has lived in the Springs for five years, and “knew the first year we were here that we were going to make this home,” Clark said. “This is the best place we’ve lived.”