Kathy Holland was born in the Ohio Valley Hospital located in the historical community of McKees Rock, Pennsylvania, December 30th, 1950. Her parents, Ralph and Darlene also had two other daughter, Becky and Sharon. An economic downturn would cause the family to move to the Columbus area for employment.
Kathy would attend Linden McKinley High School graduating in the class of 1968 at the age of 17. She enrolled in a course to learn how to operate a Comptometer, the precursor to the modern adding machine. (see picture) She earned her certificate and was hired by Wonder bread working in the bakery tallying how many loaves of bread were produced. Kathy stayed there for three years before moving to factory work becoming a machine operator manufacturing car parts.
Kathy’s family had a long legacy of the men serving in the military, but it was frowned upon for the women to serve. Kathy wanted to join, after watching so many friends leave during the Vietnam era to serve and too many not return. Her family was very resistant, so Kathy delayed until she was 24 years old, went to the Army recruiter by herself, scored high on the ASVAB and was able to choose her MOS. Her question to her recruiter was, “Where are all the guys serving?” In response, Kathy chose the MOS 64C motor transport operator training.
In September of 1975 she was sworn in and was provided transportation to Army basic training at Ft. McClellan in Alabama. Kathy was one of the last women to be enlisted into Women’s Army Corps, WAC.) After completing basic in December Kathy’s next stop was at Ft. Dix, New Jersey for her AIT/MOS training. (This was a bit nostalgic for her as her father had also trained at Ft. Dix.) Kathy became proficient driving 5-ton, Deuce and a half, and fuel trucks.
Her first permanent duty station was Ft. Sill, Oklahoma where she was assigned to the 471st Transportation Company. Kathy’s primary duty for the next 18 months was to support the HQ command structure by driving a truck off base to retrieve the massive amounts of mail for the base, sort and distribute it to the offices in the command offices. There were about 25 women in the transportation company, outnumbered 2-1 by men.
In 1976 Kathy received orders to Ludwigsburg Military barracks, (once owned by the German army) in Germany. Now attached to the 396th Transportation Company, Kathy was selected to teach German traffic laws and certify driver’s ability, to all military personnel and their dependents. (This included taking teenage drivers out to master the Autobahn, a hazardous duty for which there was no additional compensation! 😊) Kathy was a Spec-4 but was serving in an E-5 slot.
“I was given lots of responsibility but also was treated with lots of respect!”
“Germany was beautiful, so clean! I loved my time there, the genuine people, the family atmosphere.”
Kathy returned to the states in September of 1978, taking up residence in an old farmhouse her parents were renovating in Delaware, Ohio. Using her military driving skills Kathy took a job driving a school bus for special needs children for the next two years. In 1981 Kathy welcomed her daughter Tiffany and would become a stay at home mom until Tiffany was in school. (Tiffany was a special blessing as Kathy had always been told she would never be able to have children.) In 1984 Kathy married Tony Garrison.
Kathy graduated from THE Ohio State University in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. “I was spending so much time at school working with the PTA and being a room mother, I decided to become a teacher.” Kathy took a position at a Jr. High teaching English and Social Studies. She would also teach in the “Talented and Gifted” programs.
Kathy earned her master’s degree with a dual certification in Elementary and Middle School Administration from Ohio University in 1998. She was hired to be the Assistant Principal at Barlow-Vincent Elementary school located in southeast Ohio. In 2000 she became the principal of Belpre Middle school which taught students in grades 3rd through 8th. In 2007 Kathy accepted the job of Principal at St. Clairsville Ohio. She would leave education in 2011.
Kathy has always been active in her faith spending may years as a member and more recently and an ordained minister with the Faith Harvest church. Feeling called to do more serving others, especially in the impoverished Appalachian area where she lives, Kathy accepted a pastoring ordination on July 19th of this year with the World Ministry Fellowship and began her own outreach mission from her home.
It is called “Grandma’s House” and the focus currently is to each Sunday, feed anyone who comes, young or old, a free healthy breakfast and then offer them a spiritual lesson, in a judgement free environment. She also has arranged for a bus carrying children to another local church to stop by on Sunday morning and allow her to provide those children a warm, nourishing breakfast. During the time of scripture teaching Pastor Kathy also provides live streaming over Facebook to those than can’t attend in person.
Kathy has one grandbaby whom she adores and also is “Grant” (great aunt /grandma) to her late sister Sharon’s grandchildren while their parents worked and attend nursing school. Kathy works as a clerk in a local antique shop, a job she loves, because it is low stress. She visits her Florida babies twice a year and enjoys fun in the sun.
“I am very happy in life. I just want to love and help people. Just continue to live my life for Jesus and teach about Jesus. My ministry is extremely non-conventional and not for anyone easily distracted because our babies play on the carpet while I teach.”
Thank you Kathy for your service to your country and your fellow man! Salute!