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Denise Parrish

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This is the story of Denise Parrish, one of five veterans from the College of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh featured War: Through Their Eyes, Vol. 2, Warriors & Nurses. This student multimedia project resulted in an 80-page book, a series of podcasts and a photo exhibit.
Denise Parrish

A photo of Denise Parrish, who is featured in the War: Through Their Eyes, Warriors & Nurses student multimedia project

Soldier and Mother

Denise Parrish smiles broadly as her son Zach pulls up, towing a trailer with a sleek black Polaris snowmobile. Her son had just purchased the vehicle and wanted to show it off.

“Does it go fast?” Parrish asks, almost rhetorically.

Zach, 20, grins. “Not too fast.”

They look at each other and chuckle. Parrish’s heart aches just a bit. As a mother, she just wants what all mothers want, to keep their children safe. Young men and snowmobiles… As a nurse of 15 years at Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh, Wis., Parrish knows that every winter, eager young snowmobilers will find their way to the emergency room.

She shakes away those thoughts and musters enough enthusiasm for Zach’s newest purchase. She replaces the muted dread with gratitude. She is thankful that Zach can look forward to zooming across the frozen lakes in Wisconsin and hanging out with friends and family.

She is grateful that her son’s 21st year will be nothing like hers—when she was a new mother and a Specialist in the U.S. Army, deployed to a foreign country to fight in a war that she barely understood.

To read the entire story, please download this PDF.

In this video, Denise Parrish discusses the moment she knew she'd be a nurse, the role her school guidance counselor played in her decision to join the military and the anguish she felt leaving her husband and infant son when she was deployed to Croatia.

In this audio podcast, Denise Parrish talks about her first experience as an Operating Room Technician in Wiesbaden, Germany.

In this audio podcast, Denise Parrish discusses the lack of public acknowledgement regarding the U.S. Army’s role in Croatia.

Podcasts produced by student reporter Amy Wasnidge and multimedia news intern Noell Dickmann.


War: Through Their Eyes, Vol. 2, Warriors & Nurses, a student/faculty multimedia project that focuses on the veterans in the College of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Warriors & Nurses are the stories of the students and alumni who have seen war in the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts in the Middle East, and yet have found their way into a field of healing.

To read the entire 80-page book, please download this PDF. Warning, it is a large file.

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