Salute to Service: A Veterans Day Profile

Nov. 10, 2023

SARANAC LAKE -- Veterans Day is a time for all of us to honor and offer our deep appreciation to those who serve today and to those who have served in the past. The college extends its thanks to the men and women of our military, including our many students, faculty and staff, who have selflessly chosen to serve our nation in times of conflict as well as times of peace.

Today, as a way of saying thank-you, we’d like to profile one of our current students who is a veteran. Keri Walker, a second-year student in our Massage Therapy program, is a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. She originally hails from Michigan.

Keri Walker as an Air Force veteranWhat compelled you to join the military and what experience did you gain?

I always wanted to go into the Air Force ever since I was five years old. It’s always been my dream. I pursued the Air Force right out of high school. My life in the military consisted of stateside assignments and overseas assignments, and numerous deployments: Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia.

Why did you decide to enroll in the Massage Therapy program and what was that process like?

I chose Massage Therapy because I’m an athletic trainer and I want to help people. I feel it would further my education in helping people in the arena of massage. The process for enrolling in the program was easy. They have a veteran services officer, and you can go to the director of the massage program, and you also have admissions, and everybody integrates flawlessly.

What has the experience been like so far, and what have you gotten out of the program? 

I think the massage program here is unique. Being in the Adirondacks and an Olympic area, we get a lot of opportunities others Keri Walker, NCCC Massage Therapy program don’t get. We’ve done outreach in the community. They really promote community involvement. The value we bring to the community as students, and the community brings that to us, allowing us to practice on them (in the massage clinic), is invaluable.

The college has small teacher-to-student ratios, and I feel it makes for a lot better learning environment. The personal experience we have here with our instructors is basically one-on-one. They are very knowledgeable of the program. They’ve all been massage therapists for a long time and bring that knowledge and experience back to us in the classroom.

How do you plan to put your skills to work after you graduate?

I hope the degree takes me to maybe an assisted living (facility), maybe helping athletes. I want to take my knowledge and bring it to others. It’s about life-long learning, and that’s what this has been for me.

Thank you to Keri and all our veterans for their dedication and service to our country. For more about how the college can help veterans achieve their education and career goals, visit the college's Veterans Page.