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,””
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
“”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