Zack Ingram

TOP OF STORY Zack IngramZack 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.

Zack Military Photo 2During 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.

Honoring Student Veterans

OCC paid tribute to its student veteran community with a ceremony and open house on Veterans Day. The event was held in the Office of Veterans Affairs which is located on the first floor of Coulter Library.

College President Casey Crabill thanked student veterans for their contributions both to the nation and the College. “You are a huge part of the campus. Even though we only take one day out of the year to recognize you it’s a very important day for me personally and for the entire college. We owe you a huge ‘thank you.’ We wouldn’t be what we are if you hadn’t done what you did.”

Keith Stevenson is the Coordinator of OCC’s Office of Veterans Affairs. During the ceremony he read a powerful poem titled “It is the Soldier” by Charles M. Provence:

It is the Soldier, not the minister

Who has given us the freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter

Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet

Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer

Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer

Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician

Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,

Who serves beneath the flag,

And whose coffin is draped by the flag,

Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

OCC’s Office of Veterans Affairs supports the more than 300 student veterans on campus. As a result of its outstanding service OCC has been named a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs Magazine for the fourth year in a row for “going above and beyond to provide transitioning veterans the best possible experience in higher education.”

Casey Crabill, Keith Stevenson and Sue Tormey cut and serve cake to student veterans. The cake has a "Military Friendly" logo on it in honor of the College's fourth consecutive year having earned that designation from G.I. Jobs Magazine.
Casey Crabill, Keith Stevenson and Sue Tormey cut and serve cake to student veterans. The cake has a “Military Friendly” logo on it in honor of the College’s fourth consecutive year having earned that designation from G.I. Jobs Magazine.