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OTC student become nurse as payback for care

The term “pay it forward” has not been lost on Matt Lyons.

 The OTC student was on his way to earning his law degree in Oklahoma last year when he was stricken with what doctors determined was the most severe form of diverticulitis, a disease that attacks the intestines and colon.

Lyons, a Springfield resident, was hospitalized for three months, including two in Cox South. His plans for a law degree were put on hold as Lyons pondered his future.

“You have a lot of time to think in a hospital. You evaluate your life. I was at a crossroads and had to determine what I wanted to do,” he said.

Lyons, who has been afflicted with a mild case of cerebral palsy since birth, decided he wanted to help people just like he was helped during his extended illness.

In January, Lyons enrolled in OTC’s hybrid certified nurse assistant program and will graduate this week. He interviewed for two positions last week and has accepted a job to be a CNA on the same floor at Cox South were he was treated when Lyons was hospitalized for two months.

“I realized the nurses and the CNAs around me were having a tremendous impact on my life. So I asked myself, ‘Why not do that?’” he said.

Lyons, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Evangel University and a master’s from St. Louis University, said community colleges were never on his radar until he started considering where to get a nurse’s education.

Today, Lyons is one of the biggest cheerleaders for what community colleges and OTC do for people.

“Before this, I took OTC for granted. This all highlighted what OTC does for this area and what community colleges do for the country. They taught me skills to enter the workforce and to get a good job. Having OTC is a huge plus for our community,” Lyons said.

 “The Community Enrichment Center that offers the hybrid CNA class does yeoman’s work helping people find their niche.”

Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.








College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Media Relations

Phone: (417) 447-2666


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