Killeen political leaders groomed Christine Luciano, 27, for a life of leadership and success in her community; however, even the most motivated individuals have moments of hopelessness.
When Luciano’s younger brother, Adam Luciano, died last year in a car crash, she said her world was thrown upside down.
“When something like that happens, you don’t see any future, because all you have seen is the future with that person,” Luciano said from her office at Fort Hood, where she works as an environmental outreach coordinator.
While grieving over her 24-year-old brother’s death, Luciano found something he had written, typed under the heading, “Life is too short.”
It was his bucket list: Adam Luciano’s personal and professional goals.
The siblings were intensely competitive growing up, she said.
Luciano has a thick resume: She was a League of United Latino American Citizens 4535 scholar, graduated from high school with 36 college credit hours, earned a double bachelor’s degree at age 20, works two jobs and — at 27 — already owns a home.
Inspired by her brother’s adventurous spirit, Luciano took up the challenge he left behind.
“My plan is to try to fulfill as many things on his list as I can,” Luciano said.
Just six months after she began, Luciano has already accomplished perhaps the most challenging item on the list: running a marathon.
Last weekend, Luciano ran the full 26.2 miles of the Army Marathon from Killeen to Temple in 6 hours and 29 minutes.
“It was awesome to finish that in his honor,” Luciano said.
She said toward the end of the marathon chills began to move through her body, which she associates with a feeling of closeness to her brother.
“That’s my way of staying connected to him,” Luciano said.
As a young Hispanic-Korean woman — or “Korican” as she calls herself — Luciano said she is not ready to get serious about running for office. Yet.
She introduces herself as “bacon ninja,” a humorous coming together of her favorite food and her Asian heritage.
In both of her Fort Hood environmental work and as an instructor at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Luciano brings humor and energy to everything she does.
“She has a very, very happy personality,” said Emely Silva, environmental protection specialist at Fort Hood.
“Despite anything negative that has come into her life, she still seems to find something positive.”