Last updated: November 2023
Kristal Kent is a disabled Army Veteran living with Fibromyalgia and served with the 256th Combat Support Hospital (256th CSH). Kristal worked with the Personnel (HR) department, then after September 11th, 2001, Kristal was re-assigned to the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) of the 256th CSH. After being medically discharged due to injuries, Kristal stayed on with her unit, the 256th CSH, and volunteered for 2 ½ years as the Family Readiness Group Leader, re-invigorating the program to become a supportive extension of the unit for the soldiers and their families.
During her time as the FRG Leader, Kristal upstarted a Food Pantry to assist the Unit’s service members struggling with food sustenance, coordinated a resource list of federal, state, and local support and assistance resource programs for soldiers and families, along with hosted “Readiness” educational weekend to ensure soldiers and Military Families were prepared for deployment. Kristal’s Volunteerism as FRG Leader was officially recognized with a Commendation from the U.S. Department of the Army. Kristal also worked in Social Services for over 20 years in a variety of roles, from Adult Advocacy Coordinator, Care Coordinator, Assertive Community Treatment Specialist, Benefits Coordinator and Supported Employment Services, assisting individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Mental Health Conditions and Veterans alike.
As a Veteran living with Fibromyalgia, Kristal identified the lack of supports, healthcare options and education for those living with Fibromyalgia, especially Veterans. To address the gap in healthcare and community supports, Kristal founded the initiatives, “The Fibromyalgia Pain Chronicles” and “Veteran Voices For Fibromyalgia,” to address the inequities in healthcare, Kristal engages in VA Policy Advocacy, Legislative Advocacy and Systems Advocacy to emote positive change for those living with Fibromyalgia. Kristal also provides support, educational resources, and advocates on behalf of those living with various Chronic Pain Conditions, Rare Diseases, PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Kristal’s Advocacy work on behalf of the Veteran and Fibromyalgia Communities has been recognized by several organizations in which she received several awards for her advocacy work. Kristal received the WEGO Health Patient Leader Hero Award and the Best In Show on Facebook Award in 2018, the 2019 Fibro Warrior Award from the Fibromyalgia Care Society of America and the Warrior of the Week in 2020 from UK Fibromyalgia. In May 2021, Kristal was presented with a Commendation from the State of Ohio House of Representatives, for her advocacy work through Veteran Voices For Fibromyalgia. In August 2022, Kristal was chosen by Health Union, as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, through the Social Health Awards program. In addition, Kristal advocated for and obtained Proclamations in May 2022 and May 2023 from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, designating May 12th as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, in the State of Ohio.
Click here to read all of Kristal's articles on Depression.mental-health-community.com.