No stranger to service and sacrifice: Nursing student, singer gives back to community

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rito Smith
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

No stranger to the words service and sacrifice, Katie Babb, a current nursing student and wife to U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Babb, an electrical and environmental specialist assigned to the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, created a video parody of Pocahontas’ “Just Around the Riverbend” song with lyrics about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of social distancing.

Katie explained how singing has always been a key part of keeping her focused with a positive outlook on life.

“It’s very therapeutic for me and I learned at a young age that I loved it,” said Katie. “Ever since I learned to talk, I was around music. Between church, my parents and grandparents, I developed a love for Disney music.”

Katie’s signing started out with solos in children’s choir and school events but later developed into her majoring in vocal performance in college. Although, she has never had a lead role in a show, she has found a way to give back to the community.

“I sang on MacDill for the ‘knucklebuster’ for the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron where my husband works and have sang at 10 different events in the last year,” said Katie. “My husband has always been my biggest supporter, and no matter what he always pushes me to help people.”

Katie is Type 1 diabetic with a blood clotting disorder that caused her to spend two summers in an intensive care unit with diabetic keto acidosis and pulmonary embolisms while she was completing her first degree.

It was during that difficult time that Katie decided to change her career course and pursue a future in nursing.

“I got to know a lot of fabulous nurses though the process who had a major influence on me, so I decided I wanted to make that kind of change in people’s lives, I wanted to leave a positive impact and make them better,” said Katie.

Katie recently started nursing school and is hoping to one day work in pediatrics, neonatal or a surgical unit.

The same passion Katie has to help others is what drove her to perform the parody. After seeing several videos on social media, she thought it would be a great opportunity to use her nursing education and voice to help others.

“Katie is always willing to lend a helping hand if someone needs something,” said Justin. “She’s opened our home for meals to the community and I’m just so proud of her drive and accomplishments.”

During her time in the hospital, Katie reached out to her birth family and found that her passion for music and helping others was deeply rooted.

“From my birth father being a musician and helping me professionally record two songs for my wedding to my birth mother being a legal secretary for a medical malpractice firm, I think I was meant to be doing what I am today,” said Katie. “I have had incredible support from everyone in my life and that has made me want to give back as much as possible”

Katie emphasized how important it is to stay safe, positive and happy during this time. She encouraged creativity and to do anything that helps maintain a positive attitude.