Alumni Spotlight: Candice Caesar
After crossing paths with some of life’s obstacles, veteran Candice L. Caesar has continued to have a positive outlook on life. Caesar’s persistent attitude and dedication, she has earned the title of a true female warrior. She recently won the Moody Endowment Award for Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year from Achilles International.
Although Caesar currently works as a speech language pathologist, her goals didn’t always include providing patients with the gift of communication. Caesar had originally intended to serve in the Army for 20 years. Her grandfather was a World War II veteran and her father was a Vietnam War veteran, so their perseverance had sparked the interest.
“Freedom isn’t free. Someone has to pay the price,” Candice Caesar said. “Someone has to sacrifice for your liberty, why not me?”
In spite of the fact that Caesar didn’t expect any surprises within the military, the bond shared between servicemen and women had amazed her, especially since, as an only child, she had never experienced a sibling relationship.
“I am an only child and I have never seen strangers bond like we do,” Caesar said. “It is great [to] know someone is watching my six. It is like joining an elite brotherhood.”
Unfortunately, due to a paralytic injury Caesar had to retire from the Army after serving for seven and a half years. Although Caesar was unable to serve for as long as she intended, her years of service are shown honor and appreciation through Veteran’s Day celebrations.
“However people wish to honor us is the best way,” Caesar said. “We appreciate that someone appreciates the sacrifices we made for our country.”
Despite her career goals taking an unexpected turn, Caesar decided to find light in the darkest of situations. Caesar was told she would never walk again due to a brain and spinal cord injury which left her paralyzed. After her surgery she worked with a speech language pathologist (SLP) on cognitive retraining, swallowing, and speech. Shortly after working with the SLP, Caesar grew inspired.
“I was so amazed with her and my progress that I decided I wanted to help others and become a speech language pathologist,” Caesar said. “Communication is very important. I remember what it was [like] to not be able to share my wants and needs with others. The gift of communication is the best gift anyone can receive.”
Caesar is a Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Master of Speech-Language Pathology alumna. After being medically retired from the Army, NSU’s online program was very accommodating and fit with Caesar’s schedule. She was able to work as a speech assistant during the day and attended necessary classes online at night.
“The faculty and staff were knowledgeable and personable,” Caesar said. “I could not have asked for a better fit.”
Whether it is overcoming a medical challenge or establishing a new goal, Caesar’s never-ending hunger to serve allows her to remain unstoppable. Even though she can no longer serve in the Army, Caesar continues to show her desire to serve as a speech language pathologist.
“Pray and do what God wants you to do. You will know which path to take,” Caesar said. “Sometimes there are struggles. Sometimes it seems as though you cannot make it. You can, because you are stronger than you think.”
We are so proud of you Candice! Today we honor you and all veterans. Go NSU Sharks!