Sherry Gregory, her son Daniel and his wife Bethany want to give of

themselves and lend assistance to the neediest people of the world where

ever they may be.

To do that they will first train to become registered nurses. Last

week, all three began their education at Western University of Health

Sciences with the goal of earning master’s degrees in nursing.

“”It feels like the next step in the fulfillment of a total dream,””

Daniel said.

All three family members have enrolled in the master of science

nursing entry program which is designed for people who have already

earned a bachelors degree in another field.

Karen Hanford, dean of the College of Graduate Nursing, said school

officials believe this is the first time three members of one family are

starting school there together.

Sherry’s interest in nursing came about as she and her husband Rick

were exploring social justice issues, and she was preparing to return to

college about 3 1/2 years ago, she said.

She and her husband, a flooring contractor for more than 28 years,

raised three children and instilled in them the importance of education.

Then she determined she should take her own advice and return to college

which she left when she married, she said.

In the course of working on a degree in social justice and criminal

justice at Cal State Fullerton, she thought of the opportunities she’s

been afforded by being born in the United States, opportunities people in

other places haven’t had. She concluded “”that there was a purpose to

being born here,”” Sherry said.

“”We want to spend time doing something with our life and helping the

poor,”” she said.

For Daniel, nursing was an interest along with football but an

injury caused him to begin exploring other options. Eventually, that took

him to Biola University where he earned a degree in intercultural studies

with an emphasis in journalism.

After graduating he worked for World Vision International and was

sent to Thailand to gather information on work with AIDS. Then he spent

seven weeks in Afghanistan where the organization was doing emergency

relief work, he said. The trips showed him a need he wanted to help

address.

“”I really enjoy writing,”” he said. “”But I decided I need to do

something else. … I wanted to be on the ground with people.””

For as long as Bethany could remember she’d wanted to work overseas.

Since high school she’d been interested in nursing, but the idea of

taking on a curriculum loaded with math and science courses was

intimidating, she said.

She attended community college and then made a year-long visit to

Guatemala before enrolling at Biola where she met Daniel and earned a

degree in intercultural studies.

While Daniel was off in Thailand and Afghanistan, Bethany headed to

Uganda for a six-week internship with Dr. Scott Kellermann, who provides

medical care to the Batwa pygmies. Bethany tended to patients, and helped

deliver a baby who didn’t survive.

There, she decided she wanted to be a nurse.

When Daniel and Bethany returned to California they concluded health

care was clearly their calling. Medical school was a long-term, expensive

commitment. On the other hand, a well-trained nurse practitioner could do

a great deal for patients, Bethany said.

As Sherry and her husband where in the middle of evaluating their

goals in life Bethany returned from her trip. After seeing pictures of

Bethany tending to an ill child, Sherry thought of her experiences caring

for her children.

“”I had the thought in my mind I can do that,”” she said.

She didn’t have the nursing background but she had her experience as

a mother, Sherry said.

She wrote to the doctor and two years later Sherry was working with

sick Ugandan children and adults and her husband split his time between

working with a local veterinarian and providing medical care.

“”A pair of hands makes a difference between saving five children’s

lives and 10 children’s lives,”” Sherry said.

Although nothing is set yet, Sherry said she and her husband would

like to work in Africa. Bethany said she can see herself and Daniel

working with a non-governmental organization and going to areas in crisis

such as Niger, Sudan or back to Uganda.

By Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin