It’s funny how life works out sometimes. Michael Henry (B.S. ’03) and Kathryn Bulger (B.A., ’06) knew each other in passing when they attended Colorado State University, and years later, their relationship took root. But when the Army’s involved, nothing seems to stay in one place for very long.
Both Mike and Katy are Colorado natives; he from Palisade and she from Parker. And both chose to attend CSU because they wanted to stay near family. “CSU was a great choice for me because it was close to home, but not too close,” Mike said. “I could go home for a long weekend or shoot over to Greeley for a home cooked meal with extended family.”
“It was a major university and had a lot of options,” Katy recalls, “but it still felt small enough that I could be part of the community. I also have a twin sister who went to the University of Northern Colorado for a year, and then she transferred to CSU, which kept us close together.”
Continuing a Legacy
Both Mike and Katy were part of the Army ROTC program, but Katy was a first-year student when Mike was a senior. Their desire to join the Army came, in part, from their families of origin. Mike’s father and one of his brothers served in the Navy, and a second brother was a pilot with the Coast Guard. Katy’s father served in the Army, so she was familiar with the lifestyle. “I grew up in the Army, and I joined the Army because I wanted to see what my Dad did.”
“The ROTC program gave me that small group to feel connected to and grow close to,” Mike said. He graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology and joined the Army’s Medical Service Corps. Katy graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in English (with a concentration in education) and became an engineer officer.
By that time, Mike had served as an ROTC recruiter for about five months after graduation before receiving additional military education in San Antonio, Texas. He was then stationed in South Korea as a medical platoon leader overseeing 40 medics as part of an infantry battalion.
In 2006, Mike attended Airborne School and was stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as a platoon leader. He was deployed to Iraq twice with that battalion. It was during his second deployment that Mike worked up the courage to look up Katy and reach out to her. To his surprise, he learned that Katy was stationed at Fort Bragg as an engineer officer. The two began communicating over email and phone and discovered they shared many interests and passions, including their love of Colorado, family, and the outdoors. From there, as they say, the rest was history.
Their Adventure Begins
Their burgeoning relationship became a long distance one when Mike took an assignment in 2008 as the Chief of Operations of the Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, south of Colorado Springs. “That’s where my career started going down the path of running fixed health care facilities for the Army,” Mike said. Katy left the Army in 2010, moved to Colorado and began teaching English at Falcon High School near Colorado Springs.
They married in 2011, before moving to San Antonio, Texas, where Mike attended the Army-Baylor Program, earning a Master’s in Healthcare Administration and a Master’s in Business Administration. A year later, they relocated to the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington, for Mike to complete his administrative residency at Madigan Army Medical Center. Their oldest child, Joe, was born there in 2013.
During the following six years, they relocated three more times (Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia; Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; and then to Tower Barracks in Grafenwoehr, Germany) and had two more children: Emme, now age five, and Charlee, who will be two in February. Each move has been a forward step in Mike’s career in Army medical facility administration with progressively larger roles.
From Germany to Georgia
They arrived in Germany in August 2019 and took time to travel around Europe. They spent Christmas in Austria (where they also skied) and have visited Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, and France as well. “Our son, Joe, is very outgoing,” Katy said. “He loves meeting new people who are different than him. The kids are at that perfect age where they don’t really complain about going places.”
Mike currently oversees the support of five Army health clinics throughout Bavaria as well as one in Romania and another in Bulgaria. “We have a diverse mission of providing healthcare to the soldiers and their families stationed here, and to units stationed forward in Romania and Bulgaria. Traveling between these various locations has been one of the best parts of the job.” Last May, Mike received a promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
When considering their next assignment, Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, was at the top of their list. Starting June 11, 2021, the family will move once again so Mike can begin serving as the Clinic Commander for Tuttle Army Health Clinic. Katy’s mother and sister now live in Whispering Pines, North Carolina (about four hours north of Savannah).
“It will be a pretty drastic change coming from the cool climate in Germany to the humidity of Savannah,” Mike said, “but we’re super excited for the trip and to be close to family again.”
An Anticipated Homecoming
“We just love Colorado. We love all the outdoor activities, and really want to end up back there at some point,” Mike said. “We both look so fondly on our time at CSU and see ourselves returning to the state for the long run once this wild ride with the military has come to an end.”
When no longer with the Army, Mike would like to use his master’s degree and considerable leadership experience in healthcare administration in the private sector, and Katy would like to go back to teaching. “When our youngest goes to school,” she said, “I’d like to return to teaching. I am certified in English and science, so one day hopefully I can teach high school again.”
“Between CSU and the Army, both have been a great experience for us and opened up opportunities for us that we continue to capitalize on,” said Mike. “We want Colorado to be the place where our kids establish some roots.”