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Degner-Keenan retires from board, continues service to St. Rose
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Patty Degner-Keenan, right, visits with Leanne Irsik, senior vice president of St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center, at the facilitys recent 110th anniversary celebration. Degner-Keenan has stepped down from the St. Rose Foundation Board of Trustees but continues other volunteer service. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Patty Degner-Keenan is stepping away from some official duties at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center. But there is no way she is turning her back on the health-care facility she has served for decades.
Degner-Keenan attended her last meeting of the St. Rose Foundation Board of Trustees on April 23; she had previously served on the St. Rose Board of Directors for a total of 13 years. Both are volunteer positions.
From now on, Degner-Keenan will devote volunteer time to several causes, including the Heartland Cancer Center. St. Rose owns the cancer center.
“The patients at Heartland have a special place in my heart,” Degner-Keenan said. “Sometimes they can’t afford medications and the community can help, even if it is in some small way. These patients show tremendous courage every day and contributions to the Patient Care Fund mean so much.”
Degner-Keenan walks the talk by supporting St. Rose’s Annual Golf Classic & Auction. All proceeds from this event go directly to Heartland patients who need a helping hand. This year’s auction is Saturday, Oct. 5, and the golf tournament is Monday, Oct. 7.
Degner-Keenan also will continue her commitment to St. Rose’s Adoration Chapel. “I offer my time in the chapel to those who are seeking peace and healing with God, who is our greatest healer,” Degner-Keenan said, noting she visits the chapel every Wednesday at 6 a.m.
The chapel, which is just off the St. Rose main lobby, is open to anyone. Keenan is one of many volunteers who visits regularly.
Degner-Keenan’s family moved to Great Bend in 1967. Her late husband, Dr. James Degner, was a radiologist at what was then Central Kansas Medical Center. The name changed to St. Rose ASC almost two years ago.
“Our move to Great Bend was the beginning of a spiritual relationship with the Dominican Sisters,” Degner-Keenan recalled, noting the Dominicans’ pioneering spirit led to the opening of St. Rose. “After my husband died in an airplane crash in 1986 I become involved with the hospital and its many outreach ministries.
“For many years, I volunteered for hospice care and listened to patients’ hopes and dreams,” she continued. “Seeing their courage as they faced death was a spiritual journey for them and me.”
Degner-Keenan’s compassion was supplemented by her registered nursing skills; she graduated from St. Francis School of Nursing in Wichita. She worked as an R.N. at a county hospital in Wichita and at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
“I became a stay-at-home mom when we moved here but caring for others has been the love of my life – whether it be caring for 105 foster babies, nursing-home residents or terminally ill patients,” she said.
In addition, Degner-Keenan serves St. Patrick Church, starting in 1978 as a Eucharistic Minister.
Degner-Keenan, who is married to Great Bend attorney Larry Keenan, encourages anyone with a little spare time to learn about St. Rose volunteer possibilities.
“There’s the gift shop, the cancer center, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice – just a lot of opportunities to share time and skills,” Degner-Keenan said. “It is so rewarding to be a part of the Dominican Sisters’ health ministry. The people at St. Rose are loving and caring, and demonstrate every day their concern for each patient.”