Veterans Continue Their Service to Others at Ozarks Medical Center
Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) is a system of care encompassing a 114-bed
acute care hospital, 8 primary care and 15 specialty clinics, along with
complete rehabilitation and home care services. OMC is a not-for-profit
medical referral center with over 1100 employees, serving an 8-county
area in south central Missouri and north central Arkansas. OMC would like
to recognize a few of our veterans that came forward to be interviewed.
We appreciate all that they have done for our country and applaud all
veterans for their service.
Part 6 of 9.
Dan McKinney, IT Network Administrator, OMC
Dan McKinney’s true dream was to have his own little place out in
the country. His dream came true several years ago, and now he says, “I’m
not going anywhere.”
McKinney knew from a very young age that the military would be a part of
his life. Tracing his ancestors, with the War of 1812 being the only exception,
a member of McKinney’s family served in every war since the Revolutionary
War. A high school graduate at the age of 17, he knew that college was
not an option for him. “We couldn’t afford it,” he said.
So in November of 1966, he enlisted in the US Navy. Nine months later,
he was sent to Vietnam. “I was a River Rat. I rode river boats up
and down the Saigon and Mekong Rivers as a Communications Specialist.
Some of our missions were classified. No one really knew where we were.
I had my suspicions that we were where we shouldn’t be, or it wouldn’t
have been classified,” McKinney said. He finished out his tour of
duty on a Navy guided missile destroyer. He had planned to make a career
of the military, but during combat, he had seen enough. He left Vietnam
in August 1968, and was discharged in December 1969.
Originally from New Orleans, McKinney’s family moved to Springfield,
Mo. when he was six years old. After his service, he came home to Springfield
and attended college at Missouri State University. After college, he moved
to Colorado and really thought that would be where he would stay. But
the high cost of living brought him back to the Ozarks in 1975.
He began working at OMC in June 1991. At that time, there were only three
PCs in the entire hospital. Admissions and Accounting were the only two
departments that were computerized. “We have come a long way since
then. I’ve seen a lot of changes in technology in my career.”
As for his time in the military, McKinney said it was the right thing to do.
The Information Technology Department at OMC is responsible for all computer
hardware and software at the hospital and clinic locations, including
functionality of the Electronic Health Record.
Dan McKinney, age 18, graduation photo from boot camp at the Naval Training
Center in San Diego, California.