Defeat is not a word in Keke Williams’ vocabulary.
Keke was raised in Tampa, Florida by her grandmother who had eight children and a 6th grade education, and worked in the cotton fields and cleaned houses. Keke’s mother was 15 when Keke was born, and went on to finish high school and college, becoming the first person in their family to earn a four-year degree. At the age of 13, while her father was stationed at Fort Wainwright, Keke moved to Alaska to live with her parents. Like many members of her family, she enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve her country.
After graduating first in her class from the Army’s dental academy, Keke served as a dental assistant in Army for 24 years. She participated in several humanitarian missions around the world to provide medical and dental care to communities in need. Keke became a Staff Sergeant in charge of one of the largest dental clinics in the entire U.S. Army and was awarded a “green to gold” scholarship to attend a four-year university while serving as active duty military. After graduation, Keke served overseas in Korea in the Eight Army G1 and SGS and then returned home to become the Company Commander with the Fort Hood Garrison.
In 2000, Keke’s mother passed away from brain cancer shortly before Keke’s daughter, Cynthia, was born. Cynthia was born weighing only one pound, eight ounces, and she was given only a 50/50 chance of survival. She did survive, however, and recently graduated from Harker Heights High School in Harker Heights, Texas. For a time during Cynthia’s infancy, Keke was deployed, and once again Keke’s grandmother, Willie Mae, stepped in and helped raise Cynthia. Willie Mae has now raised three generations of children, and it is from her grandmother that Keke learned firsthand the importance of family and community.
Now retired from active duty, one of Keke’s many goals is to inspire young women raised in low income neighborhoods to seize their dreams and rise above their circumstances. She works with volunteer and community organizations in Killeen to raise awareness around sex trafficking and sexual abuse. Recently, Keke organized the first “Take Back Our Community” march in Killeen’s history to bring awareness to crime and loss in many of Killeen’s disaffected communities.