Building a Bridge Between the Civilian and Military Communities
By Jenny Jurica
Karrie Fristoe is on a mission. As an Army Veteran, Karrie served for 27 years in the Medical Service Corp, where she retired as Colonel. So, when Karrie and her husband, COL (Ret) Jon Fristoe, retired to San Antonio, they both knew that their new mission was to serve their community…and what better way to get to know their new community than to lead and serve?
“While in the Army, I spent a lot of time recruiting. I had the pleasure of going around the United States, telling Army stories and sharing my experiences. Everyone has a different experience in the military, and it’s important to bring awareness and to keep that going,” said Karrie.
Right away, when the Fristoes retired to San Antonio, Karrie joined the Military-Civilian Club, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Military-Civilian Club serves to foster patriotism and integration of the military and civilian communities in San Antonio.
“The military ladies help to educate the civilian ladies on what the military does. It’s vital as you look back in history that you have the support of the American people–it makes a big difference,” said Karrie of her experience at the Military-Civilian Club.
“I was fortunate that I came to the Army in the late 1980s, post-Vietnam. I’ve been told a thousand times, ‘Thank you for your service,’ and it breaks my heart that those who went before me didn’t always have that experience,” said Fristoe.
“It’s important to have the community supporting the service members. It helps morale, recruiting, and helps everyone to understand what’s going on,” she added.
Karrie and Jon met in Saudi Arabia while both were serving during Operation Desert Shield. After years of living the military life, all the while raising a son (who is now a 29-year-old airline pilot living in Louisville, Kentucky), Jon and Karrie have thrown themselves into serving their San Antonio community–most recently on the Fiesta San Antonio Commission.
This year, Jon served as the President of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission. Coincidentally, Fristoe is the first military retiree in “Military City USA” to actually hold that title.
“We really tried to focus on and bring attention to some of the military functions that are happening during Fiesta,” said Karrie.
In addition to serving as a lifetime member of the Fiesta Commission, Karrie also penned a children’s book entitled Rise of El Rey Feo that was passed out at area schools by Rey Feo 73, Augie Cortez, ahead of the Fiesta festivities. The book promotes the organization’s message of the importance of education.
“If it reaches even one person, then it was worth it,” said Karrie of her children’s book.
The Fristoes look forward to many more years of service to the San Antonio community and credit their military training for helping them to succinctly lead in the organizations that they serve.
“There are so many opportunities here in San Antonio. The Army spent a lot of money to train us on leadership, and if we can share that with anyone in these organizations, that’s a good thing,” said Karrie.