My Veteran Rocks Award
Christina Stalnaker Wins The My Veteran Rocks Award for the month of February
Christina Stalnaker was born in southeastern Virginia. The region is well known for its military bases and military families living in the area. When describing how this strong military presence affected her decision to serve her country Christina said, “I was always fascinated by my friend’s parent’s stories of their experiences from their military careers.” During middle school Christina recalls a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the long-standing male-only admission policy of the Virginia Military Institute. “Even though I am Female, I knew I could perform just as well as anyone else at the school. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion to require that the school become coeducational, I decided then, that I wanted to be a part of it and challenge my limits both mentally and physically.”
Christina followed her inspiration to the Virginia Military Institute where she studied chemistry and military leadership which prepared her for her time in service. After graduation from The Virginia Military Institute, Christina was commissioned into the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant of the 2/44 Air Defense Artillery Battalion, 108th ADA Brigade in Fort Campbell, KY.
When on deployment in Afghanistan, Christina’s primary duties were to support the recruitment and training of men and woman into the Afghan National Police Force. She was also the officer in charge of support to the Afghan Ministry of Interior’s effort to bring more women into the police force. Her job required her to travel around the country to gather information, provide training to police recruiters, and facilitate meetings and various recruiting events. When speaking of her experience in Afghanistan Christina said, “The people of Afghanistan are amazing and brave. They are enduring more pain and suffering through many decades of war than we could even begin to imagine. Yet they press on, and many continue to serve their own country in whatever capacity that they can. My Afghan friends, whom I grew to know and love, are working hard to bring about a better future for their families and their homeland.”
In Garrison at Fort Campbell, Christina was platoon leader. First, leading a force protection platoon and later taking over responsibility for her battalion’s maintenance platoon. When discussing her responsibilities here in the US she said, “The extent and devastating impact of invisible wounds from war has been vastly understated to the public. As a platoon leader, the most difficult part for me was supporting soldiers that return home with PTSD.”
When looking back on her experience in the Army and how it has impacted her life today Christina said, “I had a great experience serving in the army. There is a level of camaraderie which cannot be put into words. It was an honor to be deployed and represent our country in Afghanistan. I developed great communication, organization and planning skills which have been invaluable in virtually all situations. I witnessed one of the poorest, saddest corners of the world totally devastated by war. This made me realize how good I have it here in the US. I hold a great appreciation for all that I have and I will never take anything in life for granted. The tragedies of war have also driven me to do as much as possible to bring about peace into this world. I believe that the way to world peace is through inner peace. I have dedicated my life to helping everyone that I can find their own peace through yoga and meditation practice.”
Christina was medically discharged from the army due to a spinal injury and is now a yoga instructor. For the last two years Christina has traveled to India in the spring where she has been studying in Rishikesh, to learn and train under the Himalayan Yoga Masters. She can be found teaching in workshops, classes, and retreats here in Idaho. You can find her Facebook Page @Yoginichristina and online at www.rishiyoga.org . Christina is a true American Hero and well deserving of the My Veteran Rocks award, presented by Pacific Steel & Recycling. We applaud her for her service and wish her success in all her endeavors.
To nominate a veteran for Pacific Steel & Recycling’s “My Veteran Rocks” award, email an inspiring nomination letter about your veteran & your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org