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Veterans Continue Their Service to Others at Ozarks Medical Center, Part 6 of 9

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.

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