Zack Ingram believes in giving back and helping others whether he’s on campus working with fellow Student-Veterans or volunteering at Syracuse’s V-A Hospital.
The San Diego native spent more than 18 years in the Army before being medically retired in 2015. Ingram started and ended his service as a member of Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division. He served through deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan before an injury ended his military career. Doctors repaired broken bones in his back with four screws, two rods, and a cadaver spacer placed between two vertebrae in his spine.
During his second tour of duty at Fort Drum, Ingram attended Jefferson Community College in Watertown and earned a degree in individual studies. In the fall of 2015 Ingram enrolled at OCC. “The first place I went on campus was the Office of Veterans’ Affairs,” he said. The office serves nearly 300 students and their dependents each year, informing them about the benefits they are eligible for and helping access them. It’s the reason OCC has once again been named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs Magazine.
Ingram not only took advantage of the assistance offered there, he began helping fellow Veterans as part of the work-study program. “We are the first point of contact for Veterans who come to OCC. It’s good to have the ability to answer their questions and help relieve them of any stress they may have.”
Ingram is majoring in Adolescent Education and plans to become a high school English or History teacher. He’s enjoyed being an older student on campus and bringing a different perspective to classroom discussions. “The faculty’s attitude toward non-traditional students is really good. They are very interested in what you have to say. They value your experience.”
Ingram is also a regular presence at the V-A Hospital where he volunteers weekly. “I interact with patients and read them the news. It’s important for them to know they paved the way for me and now I’m paving the way for my children. The worst thing is to be forgotten.”
Military service has become a family tradition for the Ingram’s. Zack’s father was an Air Force Veteran, his mother was in the Navy and his uncle served in Vietnam as a member of the Marines. Zack’s son, Christopher, is in the Army and is stationed at Leonard Wood in Missouri.
Ingram and his wife also have three daughters. They reside in Baldwinsville.