Cross-stitching connections

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

The Last Frontier offers beautiful scenery, unique outdoor adventures and a blend of diverse cultures.

Although Alaska presents many opportunities, its remote location proves to be difficult for military members with family who are far away.

Kristina Anderson, a 354th Fighter Wing legal secretary receptionist, found a way to not only connect with her family back home, but also create a family where she is.

“I use my spare time to sew and embroider gifts for my grandchildren,” said Anderson. “I am also a Key Spouse mentor for the 354th Medical Group and enjoy spending time with the other spouses.”

Between being a grandmother and a Key Spouse mentor, Anderson finds little downtime in her days. More often than not, if she isn’t working, she’s creating different trinkets for her grandchildren.

“I have 12 grandchildren, so I’m usually pretty busy sewing,” Anderson said chuckling. “Every Christmas I cross-stitch ornaments for my children and grandchildren; right now I’m up to 20 a year!”

Anderson began sewing out of necessity, but creating clothes, ornaments, quilts and other keepsakes has grown into a tradition.

“I started sewing 45 years ago when my husband and I were medical students, so every penny counted,” said Anderson. “Now I sew because I enjoy it and it’s a more personal gift for my family members.”

Staying connected with her family is important to Anderson. She says she enjoys video-chatting with her grandchildren to see them wear the clothes she makes.

Throughout the year, Anderson’s projects for her family keep her busy, but she still finds a way to stich the necessary materials together to create a family here.

“Kris is awesome, she’s a mom of four and a grandmother of 12, which all comes in to play as a Key Spouse mentor,” said Nikki Reynolds a 354th MDG Key Spouse mentor. “The Ice Medics joke around how I’m the Medical Group mom and they give her the same accolades. Being a mom and a grandmother, she’s had a lot of experience taking care of people.”