Family: Husband, Aaron; children, Holden, Callum, Margot, Anders
City of residence: Marietta (east Cobb)
Volunteer work: Active volunteer at Mt Bethel Elementary School and Catholic Church of St. Ann
Awards and honors: 2010 Air Force’s Outstanding New Writer of the Year; 2010 Defense Information School Distinguished Graduate; 2014 Air Combat Command’s most effective communication program in support of an Air Force event; 2012-2018 led airmen to more than 20 Air Combat Command and Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs Awards across multiple categories, such as Military Photographer of the Year and Defense Communicator of the Year
Not many people have taken flight in their careers quite as quickly – and successfully – as Maj. Meredith Kirchoff, Air Force Reserve Public Affairs officer for the 9 th Airlift Wing at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta.
The 33-year-old mother of four, (who is married to a fellow Air Force Academy graduate and officer) said that while she serves her country with pride, at her heart, she’s a regular “east Cobb Mom.”
“I volunteer in the classroom and read to the kids, cutting out things at night, doing all those things that make me ‘Supermom-ish.’ And yet, I wear this uniform. There’s a very small number of people in the Atlanta area who wear the uniform to work every day.”
But while she is very proud to wear that uniform, she said balancing her work identity and her mom identity can be challenging.
“People know you as one thing, and at the same time, you are something very different,” she said. “I feel like I have an ‘on button’ for the military but I don’t have one for my family. I’m both people at the same time. From the outside, people have a hard time reconciling those two things, especially in social groups. I think that’s my biggest fear, that people will find out I’m really not this tough military person, that I’m really just a mom like everybody else.”
Still, while she has a soft heart, Maj. Kirchoff is more than a little tough.
A 2009 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, she previously served as deputy director of Air Force Academy Public Affairs as well as chief of Public Affairs at Moody Air Force Base in southGeorgia. Since transitioning from active duty to the Air Force Reserve in 2015, Maj. Kirchoff has held several positions at Dobbins, including executive officer for the 94th Airlift Wing and Public Affairs officer for 22nd Air Force.
“Typically, as an Air Force officer, you move a lot -- sometimes every two to three years. But as an Air Force Reservist, I have a little more autonomy over my career and we’ve lived in this area for five years. That’s given me the opportunity to get really involved in our community instead of being a transient person, as military personnel often are. So, I’m getting to know people on personal as well as professional levels,” she said.
And while she understands that while the uniform can be intimidating to some, it has helped her become a better person.
“It’s a matter of expectations, that military people are a certain way or act a certain way,” she explained. “But when someone gets to know me, they see that these two things really do work together, and that I’m the same person, through and through.”
If you would like to celebrate these honorees, please join us for The Cobb Life List: 20 Under 40 Awards Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre. Tickets include the the fun awards program and a reception immediately following can be purchased by visiting cobblifemagazine.com/list.