This Wednesday KCBD would like to honor Colonel Michael Keller as this week's "Hometown Hero". Keller enlisted in the Army Reserves back in 1987 and is now currently serving his 25th year with the Reserves.
For the last 30 years Keller has called Plainview his home, but he travels to Lubbock to work. As an assistant professor at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, Keller teaches thousands here at home – but he's helped even more overseas.
Since joining decades ago, Keller has been deployed to places like Bolivia, Germany, Kosovo and more recently to the Middle East. So far he's spent five years on active duty – all aimed at helping to better the lives of those around him.
"That's the meaning of service to me," said Keller "That's the way the U.S. goes into a conflict. They're not looking for war but for establishing peace."
While stationed overseas, Keller has commanded countless missions that give humanitarian assistance to the civilians in the surrounding countries. From delivering thousands of wheelchairs for the disabled to providing shelter for displaced families – his mission is a simple one, to make the world a better place where ever he can.
"We had a full plane load of tents and we were the first on the ground of any organization," he said. "We delivered 200 tents to the homeless people who lost their homes in a recent flood. The reception we received…was pretty awesome."
"One of the most interesting opportunities we've had was to help a group of women in the northern part of Iraq who were interested in setting up their own seamstress shop," said Keller.
To accomplish this mission Keller and his unit reached out to the U.S. for help, and a church group answered that call. "They gathered new sewing machines, threads, zippers, cloth and they shipped it to us and we arranged for delivery to the women. They just couldn't believe that people who had no idea who they were were that giving," said Keller. "They're still in business today making children's and women's clothing."
There's no telling how many lives Keller has touched, but his service isn't over yet. He plans on serving his country another five years until he has to retire from the military.
"I don't have any plans otherwise, so as long as I can serve and feel like I'm contributing I will do that," said Keller.
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