For Norwich senior defenseman Cam Beecy, being named as a Hockey Humanitarian Award finalist is just surreal. But that is the kind of response one might expect from an Air Force ROTC college student who will graduate in May and begin his training as a military nurse in the Sacramento, California, area at Travis Air Force Base.
“It definitely is a bit surreal,” Beecy said of his nomination. “It was definitely not expected, and I feel like I have already won just being nominated and being part of something that I love every day. It has been a natural extension of what I love to do as an athlete and what I hope to be doing after I graduate as a nurse in the Air Force. As I have learned through my clinical training, it is not just about helping with the disease state, it is about helping and treating the whole person. With Positive Tracks, I get to focus on the whole person in young children and do things through sport to improve their lives and situations.”
Whether it has been captaining the Positive Tracks team in the Travis Roy Foundation annual whiffleball tournament, coaching at youth hockey summer camps or finding time as a head coach for a hockey team made up of 12-year-old players in North Central Vermont, Beecy has been driven to change the trajectory of middle school aged kids’ lives in his home state.
Beecy, a native of Stowe, Vermont, has played in 35 games in his career at Norwich and is a two-time New England Hockey Conference All-Academic Team honoree. He carries a 3.82 GPA in Nursing and will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force as a military nurse in May.
In 2018, not only did he support the Positive Tracks organization out of Hanover, New Hampshire, he also organized an outdoor circuit fitness challenge to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and their local outreach in the Stowe area. That event raised $8,000, and the joy of accomplishment and commitment to the cause is something that truly gets Beecy excited about his activities and giving back.
“I discovered people’s enthusiasm and passion for supporting local organizations and charities during my junior year at Kimball Union (prep school),” Beecy said. “Everyone on campus had to pick something and find a program to get involved with. I saw such enthusiasm from the volunteers and people supporting the programs that I wanted to get engaged. It was great to see the successful fundraising and other endeavors to support local needs, and I got excited about seeing and being a part of the outcomes. It has grown to now wanting to organize and run my own initiatives and hopefully leave a place better than I found it.”
While Beecy’s commitment to Positive Tracks and the middle school-aged children the group supports is an important aspect of his time giving back to the community, he is active on so many other fronts that even his coach at Norwich is in awe of the capacity and commitment.
“Being here this year with Cam has been amazing,” said first-year coach Cam Ellsworth. “Everyone sees the big things in terms of the events and programs like Positive Tracks, but it is the everyday stuff that is equally significant. Cam is involved and leads our team on the public service front, working in the local soup kitchen, organizing a ‘sock toss’ fundraiser, and always being the best teammate on and off the ice. It is extraordinarily humbling to witness, and I am astounded where he finds the time to do all that he does each and every day.”
Beecy acknowledged that the time commitments are important but noted that he, like most others in his peer group, probably have far more time than they think they do to get involved in other things.
“Way before I had an Apple watch or phone to track the screen time, I noticed I was spending a lot of time doing things that weren’t productive or valuable,” Beecy said. “I just started looking at my watch and noting the time I was spending on my phone overall. It didn’t take long to figure out I was spending way too much time on my phone and that was really wasting important time. I found time that could be purposed better and have made use of that to help others and get involved in other areas.”
While Beecy’s post-school pathway is defined, he has goals to maximize his support nursing care for his fellow soldiers in arms and if possible, still continuing with his philanthropic activities.
“I think it is really special that Cam aspires to be the ‘G.I. Joe’ of nursing moving forward in his career in the military,” said Ellsworth. “That level of sacrifice and commitment just says it all for Cam’s doing more for his fellow men.”
Beecy has stated a long-term goal of being an advanced surgical nurse on the battlefield, working with special forces teams.
“I really want to work with the advanced medicine and support with the special forces,” Beecy said. “It is a longer-term goal for me, but I want to be involved in treating the whole soldier where they need it most, and I can’t think of a more critical role than in the field supporting our special teams and their important work. I love the aspect in my volunteering and nursing training that the focus is on treating the whole person and I think with both things I get to do just that.”
“I think everything I have done to this point has focused on being in the moment and staying grounded,” Beecy said. “We have discussed possibly doing something on the west coast with Positive Tracks, but I don’t know how much time I am going to have when I start my training in California. It would be nice if I could continue as it helps to keep everything in perspective and it is special to do something that you love and know that others are benefitting from your actions and enthusiastic commitment.”