COVID-19 Response and Reopening

Erica Denney

Erica DenneyTraveling the world as a minister, from Cambodia and Uganda to Uzbekistan and Nicaragua, Erica Denney would connect with people and communities, helping them in any way she could. "I knew since I was a teenager that I wanted to spend my life serving people," she shares. Eventually she realized she wanted to serve with more immediacy, to help in times of greatest need. That brought her to COCC's Nursing program.
Life, she pointed out, doesn't resemble a straight path. In fact, it tends to resemble, well, the trails around Central Oregon. "You're going to encounter long stretches of flat, rather boring desert. At times, beautiful tree-lined creeks. Occasionally, a grueling ascent to a gorgeous view. And sometimes, we encounter a charred forest," she says. "Are there ever going to be any signs of new life?" Unsure she was even nursing material, the mother of three teenagers nevertheless applied for Foundation support.

"I got a letter in the mail that said I had been awarded a full tuition scholarship — and it brought me to tears," she says. "These are people who have read through my application and they believe in me." There was new life in the landscape. Denney's now readying for her second year of the nursing program and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. "I am deeply grateful."