PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - In 1966, more than 250,000 U.S. troops were in Vietnam, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pressed on to spread the message of civil rights, and a television show about a talking horse named Mister Ed aired its final episode.
That year also marked a milestone for health care in our region with the first class of nursing students graduating from then Paducah Junior College, today's West Kentucky Community and Technical College.
On October 22, officials will host a 50th Anniversary Reunion of the college's nursing program from noon to 2 p.m. in the Allied Health Building on Alben Barkley Drive in Paducah.
"This celebration is our way of bringing together the nurses who graduated from our program beginning with the first class of 1966 to present," Jennifer Frazier, WKCTC advancement specialist and nursing anniversary reunion co-organizer said. "We also encourage any family members and friends to come and celebrate with us and honor their loved ones."
Benton resident and retired nurse Carol Ann Garner-Wyatt was one of five 1966 graduates. Her nursing career took her around the country. She said the college's nursing program helped make that possible.
Attending the college "was a good experience for me," the 78-year old Garner-Wyatt said, "and I felt prepared to go to work. We also had on the job training, but I felt prepared. I really did."
Garner-Wyatt said she's done a little bit of everything in the nursing profession, saying her resume is like a patchwork quilt. "But I've loved it all," Wyatt, who retired from Western Baptist Hospital in 2000 said.
During the nursing anniversary reunion on October 22, nursing alum and other guests will have the opportunity to see how the college's nursing program has changed over the years and reconnect with classmates, faculty and staff. Visitors will also enjoy live nursing simulations, tours, and refreshments throughout the event.
"We hope the celebration will bring back fond memories for our former graduates, and we are so excited they will have the chance to meet and talk with our current nursing students, bringing everything full circle for the program," Frazier said.