Friday was pinning day at Onondaga Community College, a special time for those entering the nursing profession.

A class of roughly 40 new nurses got their pins Friday at what was a unique experience for at least two families.

"I started out as a very young woman. I did six years as an LPN and 36 as an RN," nurse Catherine Kranz said.

Recently retired from the VA, Kranz is preparing to pass the torch to her son Gregory, a surgical tech.

"At first, I didn't want to go to nursing school because I said, I just, you know, I wanted to be a tech," Gregory Kranz said. "I really enjoy, you know, doing the job as a surgical tech, but the more and more I learned about the job and you know, how much more education I could get alongside working with the nurses and the physicians and the other techs, it's taught me a lot. I kind of just felt that it'd be in my best interest to continue school."

After countless hours studying and practicing practical applications, all during a trying pandemic, Gregory Kranz wouldn’t want anyone else to have the honor of pinning him.

"She kind of pushed me to do this, and I'm just glad I made it this far with everybody's help, and you know, my friends and my family," he said.

In another part of the classroom, the Vanslykes were also getting ready for pinning.

Father Brett is actually an OCC alumnus.

"Swear, where a lot of things are, you know, not much has changed," said Brett Vanslyke. "It's fantastic, and I'm proud of her, you know, finishing in nursing school following in the footsteps of her grandmother and myself."

Entering the "family business" for daughter Rachel is a dream come true, and Friday could not have come soon enough.

"Like 100 pounds was lifted off of me. I did it," she said. "I finally did it. That was great."

Ready to take on the challenges of nursing, she’s looking forward to helping educate patients and working with some true heroes, and even more, putting the constant trials of nursing school behind her.

"The one time that my dad said it was OK to cry was during nursing school," Rachel Vanslyke recalled. "One time. I've only heard it once come out of his mouth on the phone during one of my breakdowns. He goes, 'it's OK to cry.' And I'm like, 'really?' He goes, 'yeah.' He's like, 'I did.' I'm like, 'no.'"

The Kranz and Vanslyke families made their way to the ceremony through hallways they’ve walked hundreds of times before — the same hallways that schools like OCC hope will continue to be filled so there's no shortage of nurses.

This class and many like it will be well received by units in need. Studies found one in five skilled nursing facilities had staffing shortages, with a high demand for nursing assistants and nurses.

Finally the wait was ove. It was pinning time. The class took their oaths from their seats.

"Are you crying?" Rachel Vanslyke asked her dad.

"Yeah," he said.

"I feel like I want to cry right now," she said.

And that’s OK.