Little Chute, Wis. (WFRV) – You might remember past Hometown Hero Steve Freund, but his wife Katherine, is a veteran too.
They enlisted in the Army together after graduating from Neenah High School in 2000.
“I started really looking into it probably about my freshman year, I’m a big planner and then I was dating my husband Steve, and he was also planning on going in so it was a good fit,” Freund said.
“Basically get out, get experiences out of Wisconsin, see different places, have different experiences and be able to support myself doing that. That was a big one, you don’t want to be exploring the world eating Ramen,” she said.
So for the next two years, Freund and her then-boyfriend Steve were stationed in Alaska where she had what you could call a non-traditional duty.
“I was a light-weight diesel mechanic,” recalled Freund. “So, a lot of time in the motor pool, keeping track of tools, changing oil, tires. I figured, well if I’m going (to Alaska), I might as well learn how to change my oil,” said Freund.
Freund went on to marry Steve, and become a mother. But while her husband stayed in the military for another 18 years, Freund was forced to make a tough choice about her own military career.
“9/11 happened when I was pregnant with my daughter and I was balancing and trying to figure out what we wanted to do. Do I want to stay in and have the baby be a dual-military family? Or do I get out and stay home with the baby. And 9/11 really made that decision for us,” Freund said.
Freund has traded the chaos of the military for the quiet shelves of the Little Chute Public Library, where she serves as the director.
“I’m that final stop to make sure we can solve problems and things like that, basically steering the ship in the direction that we want to go in,” she said.
From Army Mechanic to Army Wife- Freund takes on a new role not just at the library but now as an Army mom.
Her two children, Samantha and Riley, have taken up Army careers just like their parents did at that same age.
“Because I have lived it for so long, and it was my life for a while and then a spouse for 20 years, it’s not as scary as you might think. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, both of your kids are in the Army?’ and it’s scary for them, and for us it’s just our life, it’s what we do,” she said.
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