‘I had a purpose’: UH student shares remarkable career of service to her country

“Veterans Day means to me honoring and supporting all the people who are serving or have served our country,” she said.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 3:53 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2022 at 5:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kristi Koplin has worn a couple of different uniforms that both represent the United States of America. There’s the athletic uniform she wore as a member of the USA national bobsledding team, and there’s her military uniform.

“I’m a Major in the Army,” she said.

Koplin starred in track and field in college. That led to bobsledding, a sport where the speed of the sled can reach 80 mph.

“I like roller coasters or anything daring,” she said. “It wasn’t even a thought of, ‘Should I do it?’ It was, ‘Can I do it?’” she said.

She competed at the highest levels of bobsledding, in World Cup races and as an alternate for America’s team at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Then came injuries and concussions, and the difficult decision to step away.

“It felt like I had a purpose, I was doing what I was born to do,” she said.

The daughter of a military family, she was also born to serve her country. As an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, she works in the medical field.

“As a registered nurse currently, I’m part of a field hospital. We do the humanitarian missions which are really cool,” she said.

At the University of Hawaii, Koplin is studying to become a family nurse practitioner so she can do more for the military.

“I’ve been considering going back to active duty for the opportunity to continue my career in the military, work toward retirement, and get to serve the soldiers and their families,” she said.

Her father was an Army officer. Devotion to country runs in the family.

“Veterans Day means to me honoring and supporting all the people who are serving or have served our country,” she said.

She has served the USA in athletics and the Armed Services. That’s worth a special salute.