Lyn Kirkwood is always looking for ways to make others’ spirits soar.
She may brighten people’s day by visiting a Kirtland Federal Credit Union branch in Albuquerque, N.M., to greet members and employees, offering a helping hand to military servicemembers, or serving on the official scoring team of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
“I’m all about the fun,” Kirkwood says. “I’m making other people happy so I’m making myself happy.”
Kirkwood met leaders of the $939 million asset credit union while volunteering for Kirtland Air Force Base causes before she retired in 2007 after 30 years at the Air Force Department of Defense.
Retired Kirtland Federal CEO Dave Seely gave her six months to enjoy retirement before persuading her to join the credit union’s supervisory committee. Six years later, she joined the board of directors.
As both the wife and mother of military veterans, Kirkwood understands the needs of military families. She works as a board member and volunteer for Team Kirtland to provide a “home away from home” for young aviators on their first assignment.
Their volunteer “families” may invite them to Thanksgiving dinner, help them do laundry, or teach them to make pancakes.
Kirkwood also is a volunteer and board member at the Good Shepherd Center, which provides services for addiction recovery and mental health, as well as food, shelter, and clothing for homeless people.
“There are a lot of veterans who end up on the streets,” Kirkwood says. “My heart just melts when I hear someone say, ‘If it weren’t for this, I would be dead.’”
Her husband, Jon, retired from special operations command and later from Lockheed Martin Corp. They pass on their family’s blessings by staying active in military- and faith-based causes.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to provide assistance to others,” Kirkwood says.
She notes that Kirtland Federal’s values match her own: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, citizenship, and care. “I promise to always treat everyone with compassion and understanding because you never know what their life or their day is like.”
Kirkwood gave up some activities in retirement but refuses to step back from others. Instead, she seeks to strengthen her community while lifting the spirits of everyone she meets.
“When you’ve been given so much, the least you can do is give back a little piece of yourself to others,” Kirkwood says. “It puts a smile on my face every day.”