Airman 1st Class Melissa Franks, 56th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician, started running cross-country at age 15. While developing her skills as a cross-country runner she was awarded a cross-country scholarship to Yavapai College in Prescott. Franks was awarded the title All-American after a nationals race at the age of 18 while earning an associate degree.
“Sometimes I hate running, but I love how great I feel about it afterward,” she said. “The rewards truly are numerous, and once you realize that, it becomes addicting.”
While doing an internship for an undergraduate degree at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, Va., through the Navy base’s fitness and sports program, she learned quite a bit about the military. After seeing what the military had to offer, she joined the Air Force to continue her education.
“School was a financial struggle,” she said. “It made it hard for me to think about pursuing graduate school. Now I can.”
Franks now works as a medical technician in the family practice clinic at Luke. She is also certified as an emergency medical technician for ambulances and can perform small procedures under doctor’s orders such as shots, IVs, wound care and obtaining vital signs.
“I love what I do now,” she said. “I love being able to help people while serving my country.”
While she enjoys her job, she has not let go of the joy she gets from running. Those dreams still motivate Franks today.
“If given the opportunity, I would love to run for the Air Force Cross Country team,” she said. “I will have to work hard and get my timed runs to where I would like them to be, so I can build a resume to submit.”