When Jake Keller ’17, a student in the Master of Music Therapy program at Appalachian State University, told Dr. Cathy McKinney in 2014 he was considering joining the North Carolina Army National Guard, McKinney, who is the director of the music therapy program in Appalachian’s Hayes School of Music, promised him the department’s full support.
Keller, who is from Gaffney, South Carolina, became a specialist in the 878th National Guard Engineering Company and soon found out what McKinney’s promise meant. Classmates, faculty and staff rallied around him and his wife, Hannah, especially as his March deployment to Iraq approaches.
“I’m really glad that people didn’t try to avoid the subject. They were really curious about being in the Army National Guard,” he said. “Just showing that curiosity was helpful because it showed they cared. They offered ideas of how I could use music over there.”
Originally published February 15, 2018. Written by By Mary Giunca.