Keegan Represents Student Veterans Organization
By Sandra Seitz
Army veteran Michael Keegan is training hard and getting in shape, not for himself, but for buddies he has never met.
Keegan represents UMass Lowell’s Students Veterans Organization (SVO) in the Run to Home Base at the end of May, and he plans to cross the finish line in Fenway Park. With the help of the SVO, he has raised more than $1,000 in donations.
Run to Home Base, jointly sponsored by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital, is an annual event that supports treatment of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Having served two tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, one of them in Samara, in the infamous Sunni triangle, where the unit suffered losses and injuries, Keegan understands the need. Despite the toll, he says, “I wouldn’t trade what I did. It’s something special to look down and see the American flag on your shoulder.”
Making the transition back to civilian and university life has posed a different sort of challenge.
"The SVO has been great. The leaders epitomize what our generation needs in terms of spirit, leadership and character,” says Keegan, who is majoring in English with a history minor. “I feel so fortunate to be at UMass Lowell every day, where I can think critically and have lots of friends who served together.”
Saying that he’s “never had a bad class or a bad professor,” Keegan plans to teach high school English. He interns at the Tsongas Industrial History Center, where he is organizing curriculum materials about Charles Dicken’s visit to Lowell in the 1800s, and has written a profile of another intern.
Keegan attributes part of his success at UMass Lowell to his military service.
“I brought back the values of leadership, selfless service and integrity,” he says. “Selfless service – that’s really important to me.”