As a young man, Tyrone “Ty” Holmes learned essential lessons at Keystone College that have guided him throughout his life.
Ty attended Keystone in 1990-91 and then went on to a stellar career in two branches of the armed serves, as well as serving as a police officer in the nation’s second largest city. He followed those accomplishments with a distinguished career in community and public service. Through it all, Ty has never forgotten his time at Keystone and cherishes the memories that remain so clear in his mind.
“To me, Keystone is such a special place. It’s a place where everyone has value and people care about you, respect you, and will do anything to help you become your very best,” Ty said.
Ty, who grew up in northern New Jersey, remembers his initial trip to campus while visiting a friend who was already attending Keystone.
“I felt like I was home the first time I walked around the campus. It was just so beautiful and so unlike anything I had ever seen,” he said. “I sat in on some classes and met several professors. I knew immediately that Keystone was exactly what I wanted.”
Ty was forced to leave Keystone because of a health issue but that didn’t stop him from moving on with his life. He joined the U.S. Navy and proudly served for 10 years, being deployed on military and humanitarian missions around the world.
After leaving the Navy, Ty then became a Los Angeles police officer for several years and then, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was recalled to the Navy. He then “switched over” his service to the U.S Army, being one of the few individuals to serve in two branches of the U.S. military. The decorated combat veteran has been deployed in such dangerous locations as Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, and Bosnia. He was also part of the rescue missions in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The Army eventually assigned him to Tobyhanna Army Depot, near Scranton, where he oversaw budgets and training curriculum, serving 15 years in the Army for a total of 25 years of service.
Since his wife, Margie, is a Dunmore native, Ty settled in Scranton after retiring from the military. His service to others has continued unabated. He served as the President of the Lackawanna County Branch of the NAACP, and a board member of the NEPA Youth Shelter, and has volunteered with Meals on Wheels and the Boys and Girls and Girls Club of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Penn State Scranton Advisory Board, A Veteran’s Vision, Scranton Rotary (2nd Vice President), Scranton Chamber of Commerce Skills in Scranton Board, Lackawanna County Pro Bono Child Hunger Outreach Partners (President). Most recently, he became the first Black member of the Scranton School Board. He is the first man of color to ever win an elected position in the history of the city of Scranton.
Ty attributes his lifelong service from the lessons he learned from his father and then reenforced during his time at Keystone.
“My father always told me there can be no greater purpose in life than helping others. While everyone has their own individual goals, we all have an obligation to each other,” Ty said. “That’s really what has driven me my whole life and continues to inspire me every single day. At Keystone, there were so many people who helped me along my journey, and I will always be thankful for that.”
What advice does Ty have for young people today, particularly Keystone students?
“Be grateful for the opportunity you have,” he said. “Your experiences at Keystone will help you for the rest of your life. Take time to enjoy it because it goes by so quickly. Most of all, remember those who have helped you and inspired you, and then try to help and inspire others as you go through life.”