Military Matters: Local veteran turned successful business owner

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A local veteran who had planned to make a career out of the military is now thriving in a different type of profession after her life took an unexpected turn.

Kristina Wright joined the Army in 1998 and quickly climbed the ranks as one of the only female mechanics.

“I made E7 in 8 1/2 years which for female mechanics, I wouldn’t say is unheard of — it’s possible because I did it but my goal was to be a female Sergeant Major of the Army,” said Wright.

Her plan took an unexpected turn after she suffered several injuries that forced her to be medically retired in 2008.

“It pretty much changed my physical being and then it began to change my mental being and my focus just wasn’t that much into it,” said Wright. “I couldn’t be the soldier I wanted to be.”

So to keep herself busy, Wright quickly took on an apprenticeship at a tattoo parlor and found her new passion.

“The business side of it became more personable and almost soldier like because the interaction with different people,” she said. “You’re meeting people from different walks of life. The story basis just drew me more into it.”

But like many soldiers, the transition from military service into civilian life wasn’t an easy one.

“I dove in head first into the business because I was so ready to just replace my feelings of disappointment or replace the feelings of not being on that career path,” said Wright.

In the last 8 years, her new career path has led her to become the business owner of Pens and Needles Custom Tattoo — a local community business that supports all military.

Although her path to success wasn’t easy or what she had envisioned, Wright’s advice to anyone struggling, soldier or not, is to simply keep going.

“There is some sort of light at the end of the tunnel,” said Wright. “Either it goes well or you’re just not on the path that you need to be on and you really really have to push yourself to make it work.”

Wright’s Tattoo Parlor has grown to become one of the largest in Colorado Springs, employing enough people for 8 individual shops.

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