Eric Robert Greitens, in so many ways, is the embodiment of the true war hero. An author, humanitarian, American politician and former Navy SEAL, he now serves as the 56th Governor of Missouri since the first month of 2017.
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Born on April 10, 1974, in St. Louis, Missouri, Eric grew up in a family that was not particularly wealthy. Son of Becky and Rob Greitens, he was educated in public schools and says himself that he got his first job when he was in elementary school. Hence seemingly, there was every possibility that Eric Greitens would have seamlessly merged into the masses and lived out his life happily, without ever being the symbol of hope and valor that he is now. But that was not to be so, for this man is considered by most to represent greatness, hope, and effort. He was raised Jewish and attended Parkway North High School and studied ethics, philosophy, and public policy at Duke University, graduating in 1996.
The first indication however, of the fact that Eric Greitens was primed for greatness probably came with his being awarded both the Rhodes and the Truman scholarships. He chose to attend Lady Margaret Hall, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. He got his DPhil. in development studies in 2000. The rest is, as they say, history – a remarkably illustrious career followed. Lined with numerous awards, a stellar service in the Navy SEALs, prolific speeches, a White House Fellowship and perhaps most importantly, the gem that is The Mission Continues. As if all this is not enough, he has also been blessed with what can only be described as classic good looks and a disarming smile.
After Oxford came the Naval Officer Candidate School in 2001. Here he began Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training, and now is a combat veteran and Navy SEAL and has served four tours of duty overseas, including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. His rank was Lieutenant Commander and his personal collection of awards consists of the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, as well as many more awards and honors.
In 2005 he was appointed by President George W. Bush to be part of the White House Fellows program. As a White House Fellow, he helped develop a new $5.6million program to assist with the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. During the same time, Eric co-founded the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Program.
But that was not the only thing that Greitens founded. After returning from Iraq, and inspired by the courage of his fellow veterans, he donated his combat pay, to found The Mission Continues, a Missouri-based nonprofit that helps returning veterans get back on their feet and give back to their communities. The organization was so effective that it won the 2014 CLASSY Award. The same year, Fortune Magazine named Eric one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” However, one year later, he resigned from the board of directors.
It seemed strange that he would do such a thing at first, but it was proven later that Eric decided to focus all the time that he wasn’t spending with his family, in politics. So, on September 26, 2015, he announced his campaign for Governor of Missouri. After several months of hard work and a successful campaign, he assumed office as Governor on January 9, 2017.
The Republican who was elected Governor of Missouri should be every woman’s dream, you would think. Surely, such a perfect specimen of humanity should also have the most enviable married life, because, quite frankly, he deserves all the good in the world. But the truth is that, Eric Greitens has had his fair share of heartbreaks (well, heartbreak, if one insists on being pedantic). Greitens, although currently happily married, has been divorced once before. The lady who was his first wife, however, seems to be a phantom, with practically no information about her anywhere to be found. In fact, all that we do know is that his first marriage was an experience that taught him difficult lessons about being strong, and from which he emerged much wiser than he was before, and also that he was devastated by the demolition of his first marriage.
That was until Sheena Elise Chestnut walked into his life. To be fair, it was not necessarily a walk-in, but it is sufficiently adequate a description, and serves as something that fits into one sentence without being inaccurate. The longer version starts with his visit to Harvard in 2010, where he met a graduate student in political science there – yes, Mrs. Greitens is indeed very, very smart – which inevitably led to the first cup of hot chocolate, and a rather heady whirlwind romance that lasted for a year, before Sheena Chestnut, girlfriend to Eric Greitens became Sheena Greitens, in 2011. They were married on a Sunday in August 2011, at Beacon Hill.
It has been a true melding of minds for the two of them. According to him, she seemed to know how he thought, right from the start. For a man with an unpleasant marital experience behind him, this kind of understanding and harmony of thoughts must have been a welcome change – theirs has been a very happy marriage, and there has never been any hint of him having an affair.
The duo is also rather private about their life, with precious little being known about the goings-on in the Greitens household, except that they are blissfully happy along with their two sons – Joshua, who was born in 2014 and Jacob, who was born two years later, in 2016. And so, pretty much everything that we know about Mr. and Mrs. Greitens can be summed up – accurately so – under the head of ‘happily married’.
Last Modified: Apr 8, 2020