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‘Extreme’ PenFed COO a triathlete, Harvard grad

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Posted: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 12:00 pm

By Colleen Flaherty

Fort Hood Herald

A former 1st Cavalry Division soldier has been named an "extreme CEO" by Chief Executive magazine.

Kate Kohler of Arlington, Va., a former Army captain, currently serves as COO for the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation, or PenFed Foundation, a nationally recognized nonprofit working to "meet the unmet needs of military personnel and their families," according to its website.

Kohler, a U.S. Military Academy, West Point, graduate, has completed seven half-Ironman triathlons and four marathons, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Last year she completed the Augusta, Ga., Half Ironman at 5:27, faster than her college rate.

"I'm 36 and getting faster all the time," she said in a telephone interview. "I can't wait to turn 40."

Although the Pennsylvania native has always been athletic and driven, she said, she credited her post-Army achievements in part to her time at Fort Hood.

Kohler was stationed here in the late 1990s, as a 2nd lieutenant assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, part of the division's 4th Brigade Combat Team, now an advise and assist brigade.

During deployment from Fort Hood to Kuwait, she said, a senior officer went running with her in the desert. He talked to her about his experiences running the Boston Marathon and attending Harvard University.

Ten years later, Kohler said, she has done both.

She gained advanced degrees in both business and public policy, which help her lead now at PenFed.

The credit union foundation's ARK program helps active military members who need a loan up to $500 for a flat fee of $1 per $100 borrowed, helping them avoid predatory payday lenders that charge high fees for loans.

Dream Makers is a program for active military members, military veterans and Defense Department employees that provides a $5,000 grant to first-time homebuyers to help with their down payment.

The Military Heroes Fund provides emergency financial assistance to military members who have served since 2001 in Iraq or Afghanistan.

For more information about the PenFed Foundation, go to www.pentagonfoundation.org.

Contact Colleen Flaherty at colleenf@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.

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