Kristy Lynn Huddleston (34 years old) grew up in Klamath Falls, Oregon where she graduated from High School. Kristy received a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) followed by a Master’s in Nursing from Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). Married and mother to shared biological child, Ethan Huddleston (age 10); step-mother to Serena Huddleston (age 15) and to Clarence Huddleston (20’s) who is currently serving in USMC and stationed at Camp Pendleton (currently deployed on a non-combat tour). Her parents, Denise and Dwight (USMC) Esselstyn currently live in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
After living in Yuma, Arizona, where she worked as an In-Home Care Nurse, she and her husband moved to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. She worked at Camp Lejeune as a DOD contracted Nurse Case Manager at the Neurology Rehabilitation Clinic. She was hired by Department of Veterans’ Affairs VA Southern Oregon Center and Clinics (VA SORCC) in White City Oregon in January 2010 as the OEF/OIF/OND Case Manager. She excelled in this position and took serving returning combat Veterans to another level of attention and excellence. After her initial interview the OEF/OIF/OND Program Manager told the Social Work Services Chief, “Wow, there’s Kristy and there’s everybody else.”
Her skill and ambition resulted in her being the Caregiver Support Coordinator selection for VA SORCC in April 2011. Kristy’s professionalism, strong work ethic and intelligence resulted in her bringing the Caregiver Support Program to an impressive stage of development; beyond what most people thought possible in such a short period of time. Kristy was simply exceptional at getting the job done, whether it related to meeting the needs of an individual Veteran or program development. She was a lot of fun to work with as she would keep us on our toes with quick, witty remarks; all the while she is known as someone throughout the facility as someone who was deeply devoted to and cared for the Veterans she served. She did this while also teaching 2 Online Nursing Classes at the University of Phoenix.
She was proud of being a Marine spouse and had numerous USMC plaques and signs in her office. Aside from the often funny, and sometimes outrageous, stories describing the trials, tribulations and travels of being a Marine spouse and mother, she had the natural wisdom and ability to connect with other Military and Veteran spouses and caregivers in ways that very few of us have the ability to do as both her and her mom (Denise) lived these roles. Veterans and staff consistently commented on her exquisite taste in shoes (and lots of them!) as it appeared she was a professional shoe shopper (I’m told her taste in handbags was also equally impressive). She doted on and devoted herself to her son. Her family would also often take fun, adventurous trips. She enjoyed exercising, and she trained for and committed herself to doing her first 5k run this April.
Kristy’s death will be felt by the Veterans and her colleagues for years to come as her time working in White City leaves a permanent imprint on the memories and lives of these she served. An example of how Veterans felt about Kristy is the letter below:
I just wanted to thank you so very much for letting Steven and I come into your office and talk. We felt so connected when we left yesterday. I have to admit I wasn't very positive about going in and seeing you, I thought it would be another counselor session like we have been through before. The talk with you really made us feel better as a couple and you are so easy to communicate with. I am not used to telling my feelings to people I don't know and you made it very easy for me to be open. Steven has talked with a lot of people at the VA and said that you are very nice and good at what you do. It's nice to know that there are people like you that really care about the vets and we really do appreciate it.
In the spirit of honoring Kristy Huddleston 2 Funds have been created on her behalf:
(1) Kristy Huddleston Memorial Fund: Acct # 9968098526
(2) Ethan Huddleston Scholarship Fund: Acct # 9964353123
If you would like to make a personal donation please send a check to the bank below attention: “Megan Gerney” and please include both the name of the fund and the account number.
2943 S. 6th Street
Klamath Falls, OR 97603
Attn: Megan Gerney
Should you have further questions email Ms. Gerney directly at: Megan.firstname.lastname@example.org