Oh the Places She Will Go

The Dalles hometown girl, Lindsay Denney, built a better future thanks to assistance from the Randy Rood Memorial Scholarship

Lindsay Denney knew from a young age that she wanted to work in the medical field. While other kids were planning to be cops, cowboys or superheroes, Denney was fascinated by medical dramas like E.R. and chose to be a doctor for career day. By high school, Denney knew nursing was her calling.

“I am compassionate and enjoy helping people,” she said. “I wanted to be at the bedside with patients.”

Born and raised in The Dalles, today Denney is a recovery room nurse at Mid-Columbia Medical Center and a member of the committee for the Randy Rood Memorial Scholarship, which helped Denney make her dreams come true.

Like many young people pursuing a dream, Denney had to find a way to pay for it. During her senior year at The Dalles Wahtonka High School, she applied for the Randy Rood Memorial Scholarship. She was awarded a $2,500 scholarship, renewable for up to five years.

The scholarship fund was established by former MCMC President Gary Rood and his wife Christine to honor their son who died of cancer. Since 2004, it has awarded scholarships to 167 graduating seniors, including Denney’s sister, Janelle Keever, a nursing student at Western Oregon University.

“When the Rood family came to us with their ideas for the Randy Rood Memorial Scholarship, we knew it was going to be life-changing,” said Celeste Hill-Thomas, Executive Director of MCMC Outreach, Communications and Foundation. “The generosity they’ve shown to our community through this scholarship is unmatched.”

While most scholarships only pay for books and tuition, the Randy Rood Memorial Scholarship can be applied towards all college-related expenses. For a nursing student, that includes transportation and costly medical supplies.

“The Rood scholarship paid for five years of my schooling for a total of $12,500,” she said. “It was a huge help. “Denney considered attending a four-year university but didn’t want to go into debt. Instead, she chose to attend the nursing program at Columbia Gorge Community College and live at home with her parents.

After receiving her Associates Degree in Nursing in 2009, Denney started her career as a nurse at MCMC. She earned her bachelor’s Degree in Nursing online while working full time.

Denney and her husband Marcus, who also grew up in The Dalles, are grateful to live, work and raise their children in their hometown. Denney is also grateful for the assistance she received from the Randy Rood Memorial Scholarship, and volunteers for the selection committee so other young people can afford to attend college.

“It is great to watch students come back from college for their renewal interviews and see how they have broadened their horizons,” she said. “Many say they have strived to do well in school because they didn’t want to let us down.”

Denney believes in the scholarship fund’s ability to help students build a better future and donates regularly, paying it forward so that others can benefit as she has.

“One of the key things that we ask our recipients is if they are successful, would they be willing to give back to the scholarship so that at some point it will be self-sustaining, “said Scholarship Founder Gary Rood. “Lindsay meets all of those expectations in terms of being a scholarship recipient, hospital employee and now committee member.”

The Randy Rood Memorial Scholarship is awarded to graduating seniors from The Dalles High School, Dufur High School, Sherman County Jr/Sr High and South Wasco County High. Applications are available at www.mcmc.net/mchf and at the counseling office at each school.