Kim Olson, a retired Air Force Colonel and candidate for Texas Commission for Agriculture will be the guest speaker at this week’s meeting of the Brown County Democrats. The meeting will be 5 p.m. Thursday at Adams St. Community Center. The meeting is open to the public.
Olson has a ranch near Mineral Wells where she is influencing the future of sustainable food production through her community supported agriculture program. In working with veterans, Olson saw that nutritious food became the great healer for those struggling with war. Olson has a natural organic certification from the Texas Organic Research Center and is a Texas Master Gardener. She provides naturally grown food, raises bees and is committed to sustainable ego-agriculture. She grows produce for Texas families, provides training on growing healthy food and lectures on small-scale farming. Her 25 years in uniform encompassed a time of change. She was part of the first generation of female pilots, eventually accumulating nearly 4,000 hours of flying time. As one of the first women to command an operational flying squadron, Olson rose to the rank of Colonel.
She served in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff, Office of the secretary of defense and the air staff and deployed to several combat zones, including Iraq. After her military retirement in 2005, she entered the field of public education. By 2007, she was the director of human resources for Dallas Independent School District, the second largest in Texas, responsible for 22,000 employees and a billion dollar budget. In that same year, she was elected to the Weatherford Independent School District Board of Trustees, and in 2009, the district was recognized as the “Texas Outstanding Board of the Year”.
By 2010, Kim was back in military service with the Texas State Guard for three years as Director of IT and personnel systems at the Austin headquarters. Her expertise prepared and trained the 2,300 volunteer military forces who augment state and local authorities during natural and manmade disasters. As the retired CEO/President of Grace After Fire, a Texas nonprofit dedicated to helping women veterans help themselves, she reshaped how care was delivered to women veterans, helping more than 6,000 veteran families. Olson was inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame in 2014.