Posted at 2:34 p.m., Dec. 3, 2014


Giving Back:

Ray Rushing works in the LCCC Student Success Center in the Ludden Library part time as an anatomy and physiology tutor. Rushing has overcome trials and tribulations to become a nontraditional student success story.

Photo by Tamara Rodgers

'My flag in the mountain'

Nursing student acheives lifelong goal

Walking on the moon was a giant leap for mankind.  Earning a college degree can be no small leap and may be just as terrifying. One Laramie County Community College student has overcome many trials and tribulations to accomplish that giant leap forward in his future.

Ray Rushing has a presence of gentleness and strength all at the same time. This became evident when some toddlers from the Children’s Discovery Center walked in formation down the hall with their bright colors, quiet chatter and obvious curiosity. Rushing’s eyes filled with a peaceful happiness and warmth as he watched them pass.

It is easy to see why he chose the nursing field.

Rushing spent more than 18 years in the grocery business before returning to school. He had worked his way up the food line from a bag boy to an assistant manager. “After working there for many, many years I had a family and realized the grocery business would not provide for my family in a way that I wanted to,” he said.

Advancement possible with scholarships

When school became more difficult and more time-consuming, he stepped down as a grocery manager and worked as a checker and a bagger. Finally, he had to cut his hours to fewer than 10 a week and decided it was necessary to terminate his employment.
After completing his prerequisites as a history major, Rushing decided to start the nursing program. Around this time, Rushing’s wife talked to him about applying for scholarships and grants. He spoke with Vito Milatzo in the LCCC financial aid office, and Rushing said, “He took me by the hand and took me through the scholarship process.”

Rushing was very appreciative of the scholarships provided through the LCCC Foundation and the people who provided him with financial aid. He said of them, “They really are changing lives and changing the world.” He strongly felt he would not have made it without their financial help.

Rushing is a family man, married with two daughters. He is asked a lot about the challenges of attending college with a family, and he wouldn’t change a thing about it. “Family is my top priority. If my girls need something I set the studying to the side and do it later,” he explained, “They are the reason I am here.”

Having a best friend to be there to push him yet comfort him when needed has been a great asset. Rushing tenderly described his relationship with his wife. “At the end of the day she is my best friend,” he said, “having a common goal of what is best for our family will be the reason we make it.”

Nursing program prepares for real-life situations

Rushing changed his major to nursing because he felt the LCCC nursing program and instructors were exceptional. He expressed a great deal of gratitude for being put in “real situations.” “I feel like a nurse. I think like a nurse,” he said.

Because of the program, Rushing is confident he is prepared to enter the field mentally equipped to do the job. “It’s time-consuming. It can be scary, but if you approach it with the right attitude, it’s very rewarding,” he explained of his experiences in the program.
What does he plan to do as a nurse? Without hesitation and with determination he said, “To save lives.”

Just as other college students can relate, Rushing has little spare time. “I used to have hobbies. Not anymore. I hope to have hobbies again,” he said. To relieve stress he plays X-Box and does activities with his daughters, preferably outside. Weather permitting, of course.

If you are a student having doubts, as Rushing certainly has had as well, he said this: “Everybody thinks you can do it. It’s time for you to think you can do it, too. There will be times and tests and things that go wrong and make you want to walk away, but you can do it and it will make a difference.”

With his degree and RN licensure peeking around the corner, Rushing will be elated when he is done. “I’ll have a college degree. This goal I set up so many years ago will be achieved. Once I get that RN, everything changes. I will have made it. My flag in the mountain,” he said. 


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