What about Holly Petraeus?

The end of General David Petraeus’ career, as a result of his extramarital affair, is the current drama playing out in the media. Even if he did want to leave a legacy and was a mentor to his biographer Paula Broadwell, it was his incredibly poor judgment that led to the scandal. And it makes me wonder about his integrity.

But it’s Holly Petraeus I want to focus on here. Talking heads have described her as an ordinary looking middle aged woman who let herself go. She may not meet the pundits’ standard for beauty, but there’s definitely no question about her moral fiber:

  • She followed her husband faithfully throughout his steady rise in the military, moving almost yearly over 3 decades.
  • She held down the fort and raised 2 children, essentially on her own, while her husband was deployed.
  • She spent years doing volunteer work at Army posts and, in her own words, “I am true evidence that years of volunteering can actually translate into a paid job.”
  • She’s passionate about the unglamorous world of financial scams and illegal foreclosures that threaten military families.
  • She’s a role model for military wives, having found a way to develop a career beyond responsibilities as the wife of a senior Army officer.
  • She worked for the Better Business Bureau, providing financial education and consumer advocacy to military families.
  • She is presently the director of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • She was honored with the first-ever President General’s Medallion for lifelong commitment to supporting military families.

Don’t you think that Holly has built quite a reputation and legacy in her own right? Her passion for military families comes from a lifetime of experience – she is the daughter of a general and her son, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather all served in the armed forces.

Military wives, struggling with the effects of multiple deployments, respect the example Holly has set. Their mantra has been ‘if they can do it, we can do it.’ But he couldn’t do it. And General Petraeus fractured the marriage by his infidelity.  He also let down the men and women in the Army who had looked to him for leadership and a strong moral foundation.

Military families today are under a great deal of stress. They face the challenges of long separations, serious injuries, PTSD, and financial pressure. Lucky for them they still have Holly Petraeus in their court and can count on her to offer service and support.

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