Vets Who Rock: Community Servant, Cancer Survivor Nicholas Becker
Army veteran. Cancer survivor. Congressional aide. Veterans' advocate. Town councilman. Nicholas Becker has taken on many roles at only 31 years of age, and this fall he added Vassar College class of 2023 student to that list. Nicholas' community service and his perseverance and determination in the face of daunting health battles are what makes him one of WPDH's Vets Who Rock.
The Pleasant Valley resident served two tours overseas during his career in the Army, first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan. When he returned home from his second deployment at age 26, he was handed a devastating diagnosis: acute myeloid leukemia. The bone marrow transplant that saved his life but brought with it severe health complications and ultimately cut his Army service short. The chemotherapy caused congestive heart failure. The prednisone damaged joints, requiring a hip and shoulder replacement.
"Through all of this, Nick never gave up," said his mother, Cheri Scharff, in her Vets Who Rock nomination letter. "Nick's life as he knew it was stolen from him by this terrible disease. He lost his youth, his physical strength, and his athleticism. He may never be able to throw a baseball or shoot a gun again, but he has remained mentally strong. He has had to reinvent himself over and over again."
Nicholas served as a Pleasant Valley town councilman only a year after his cancer diagnosis. He joined Congressman John Faso's staff in 2018. Following Faso's loss to Democrat Antonio Delgado, Nicholas was tapped to serve as a veteran liaison for the incoming representative.
Nicholas has remained a dedicate volunteer for his hometown and for his fellow vets, organizing a veteran's fair at Pleasant Valley Town Hall that brought together resources for area vets.
In 2019, Nicholas received word that he was one of nine Posse Veterans Foundation scholarship awardees and would be granted a full scholarship to Vassar College.
For being named a WPDH Vet Who Rocks, Nicholas received a $500 award and will be in the running for a $10,000 grand prize in November.