For as long as she can remember, Darlene Dodd has harbored a passion for nursing. She was drawn to the profession because of the opportunity it presented to help others, and after her first position in the field, staff nurse in the U.S. Air Force at the Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, she knew she had made the right choice. Ms. Dodd quickly gained a reputation for her hard work and dedication to the job, making her a much sought-after team member. She went where she was needed; over the years, she served as a staff nurse in the U.S. Air Force at the Ladd Air Force Base in Alaska, the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan, the Cam Ranh Air Base in Vietnam, the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. She also garnered experience as a flight nurse with the 22nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron in Tennessee and the Yokota Air Base in Japan, the chief nurse at the Da Nang Air Base in Vietnam, the clinical obstetrics-gynecology coordinator and flight nurse at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, and the clinical nurse coordinator of gynecology and pediatric services at the Keesler Air Force Base.
Although she loved her work, Ms. Dodd retired from the military in 1979. She took several years off before joining Bear Creek Corporation in Oregon in 1986. She spent the next 18 years there, and officially stepped down in 2004.
To prepare for her endeavors, Ms. Dodd earned a nursing diploma from the Borgess School of Nursing in 1957, a diploma from the United States Air Force Air Command and Staff College in 1973, and a Bachelor of Science in psychology and general studies from Southern Oregon University in 1987. She completed postgraduate coursework at the school that year as well. Then, to ensure she remained connected to her peers, Ms. Dodd joined prominent organizations like the Society of Air Force Nurses, the Air Force Association, Psi Chi, and The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. In recognition of her efforts, she was honored with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and a Decorated Bronze Star.