Local National Guardsman flying Blackhawks in IraqGrowing up in rural Illinois, Kerry Holder dreamt of flying after taking a ride in a small airplane that a friend had repaired.
“My neighbor, who I worked for, was an avid airplane person,” Holder said. “He would buy airplanes and fix them up and fly them.”
Looking for a way to live his dream of becoming a pilot, Holder decided to join the Army through the High School to Flight School program back in 1987. He served active duty for eight years.
“It was basically a good way for me to get into flying,” he said.
He was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky where he was introduced to his wife, Kathy who was also serving in the Army but stationed in Georgia. They were married two years later.
Kathy, a Lake Stevens City Councilmember, served active duty for four years and was raised in Bellevue.
After they both left the Army they moved here to Lake Stevens to pursue business opportunities. Kerry got a job with Boeing as a Manufacturing Engineering Tech.
In 2000, Holder joined the Army National Guard where he continues his love of flying by flying Blackhawk helicopters.
He used his flight experience during the Hurricane Katrina disasters by flying personnel who were assessing damage to the area.
“It was very depressing, there were huge amounts of damage,” Holder said.
Last April, Holder was called to go to Oklahoma for training before being deployed to Iraq for a year. He left for Iraq last weekend.
Because of the great support of not only his family but also Elim Lutheran church and Boeing, it has made leaving a little less traumatic.
“Boeing is a fantastic company to work for when you are doing National Guard. I’ve been blessed with supervisors who support me,” Holder said.
With the love and support of the community Kathy feels lucky and blessed and is thankful that Kerry hasn’t had to leave earlier.
“Everyone I speak to is phenomenally supportive of me and my family,” Kathy said.
The Holders will be able to keep in touch through email and web cams but know that Kerry is doing what he has been asked to do and that he will be a great asset to the forces in Iraq.
“Obviously, we don’t want him to go away for a year, but I support him 100 percent,” Kathy said.