Faces in the Crowd: Ruth Dotson
Ruth Dotson recently celebrated 80 years of life, giving back every chance she can. She is a mover and shaker and has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Born and raised in Canada, out of high school, Ruth earned her nursing degree and immediately put her newly acquired nursing skills to use as a missionary in a hospital in Haiti, assisting in the operating room — that is where she met her first husband. They started a family and moved a few times and finally landed in the U.S. at Hot Springs, where they raised four children. She rounded out her nursing career at Regional Health Rapid City Hospital.
After retirement, she went back to missionary work in a nursing role, traveling to 10 different countries so far. She reminisces on memories while in Africa on a Mercy Ship, a hospital ship providing humanitarian aid like free health care. The team did a lot of maxillofacial surgeries. Ruth remembers one little girl in particular.
“One little girl, I’ll never forget her, she must’ve been eight … she didn’t even have a face. She had this huge tumor that was so big that her eyes were just almost obliterated and her mouth was way down here. But I’m telling you she ended up with a beautiful face — so good to see that,” says Ruth Dotson.
Ruth and her husband will go for weeks or months at a time to aid others, learning a hand full of different languages and memorable items and using her skills to benefit others.
“God has given me the ability to work in this area and I’ve always enjoyed it. And it’s helping people,” says Ruth.
You won’t catch her sitting still for too long. She says it’s in her nature to be active, whether it’s working out at the gym, playing golf, ice skating, skiing, walking, or riding bikes. She also volunteers as a Sunday school teacher and Awanis, helps serve meals at the Cornerstone Rescue Mission and hosts School of Mines students in the international students incorporated program as a friendship family — welcoming students to feel more at home.
“That love that you can give, it’s so precious.”