RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- Kristen Wheeler excelled in the military.
The retired US Navy lieutenant commander is no stranger to challenging situations.
Her career experience includes serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq.
She says learning the necessary skills to be a successful leader started when she was a Girl Scout.
“Toughness, resiliency, problem solving, just pushing through and also learning to appreciate things that are different,” she said.
Wheeler joined Troop 52 in Kernersville when she was in the third grade.
She remained in Girl Scouts through high school.
She later went on to work as arts and crafts director at Camp Keyauwee.
“This is where I wanted to come for the last summer before I joined the Navy,” she said.
Wheeler boarded the USS Cole in January 2000.
In October of that same year, the ship was bombed while it was being refueled in Yemen.
“It was complete chaos, to say the least, but I firmly believe that the soft skills that Girl Scouts instilled in me are the reason why I was able to put one foot in front of the other and just keep pushing through because that's what we had to do, was just push through,” she said.
Since retiring from the military, Wheeler finds herself being honored here at home.
Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont selected Wheeler as one of its Women of Distinction.
“I'm very honored, and it's really lovely to be recognized by the Girl Scouts, but really to me, it's not about me. It's about being able to recognize the Girl Scouts and what the Girl Scouts have created, so if I'm a success, if I'm a woman of distinction, it's because the Girl Scouts made me that way.”