Doing good for others brings a smile to Ian Greenlee. Whether itâ€™s serving as a Scoutmaster or cutting firewood for needy Carson City families, the WNC nursing student and father has found it natural to help other people.
Now, the Nevada System of Higher Education is recognizing Greenlee. The Western Nevada College second-year Nursing student is the recipient of the Nevada System of Higher Education Regents Scholar Award for 2014. The $5,000 award recognizes his academic achievements, leadership ability, and service contributions.
Greenlee was honored at the Associated Students of Western Nevada College April 12 ceremony at the Governorâ€™s Mansion in Carson City. NHSE selects one student from each of its member institutions for recognition each year.
Greenlee believes his religion and Scouting background developed the core values that inspire him to help others.
â€œService has always been a part of my life â€¦ always helping out in the community,â€ he said. â€œI donâ€™t have a lot of financial resources, but I do have manpower and managerial skills so I can organize different activities.â€
One of those activities has been to fall trees and split wood to provide needy Carson City families with fuel to warm their homes during the winter months.
â€œTo me, I feel good when I help other people. It also helps build up our community,â€ Greenlee said. â€œIf you develop a community where you are lending a hand, if you are in need, there might be someone there to help you when you need it.â€
He earned his Eagle Scout recognition while in high school, and felt it was a good time “to help raise good men to improve our future. He takes his troop out on campouts monthly as well as organizing service projects for the community.
After graduating from high school, Greenlee worked as a pizza delivery driver and shift manager. He then spent two years on a religious mission in Mexico, helping build homes for needy families and counseling adults struggling with addiction.
â€œItâ€™s an eye-opening experience to go to another country and see how they live in comparison to our lifestyle,â€ Greenlee said. â€œThe best part for me is that I helped a guy who was doing drugs and was an alcoholic and his family was torn apart. I got him to kick all of that stuff and focus on his family. Iâ€™m still in contact with him.â€
Following his mission, Greenlee returned to the pizza business and became a regional manager. His arrival in Carson City stemmed from his employment with the pizza company. In 2008, he was assigned to open and manage a store on U.S. 395.
â€œMy original goal was to own a store. The owner was a really great guy who said if I stuck with him Iâ€™d be able to own a store,â€ Greenlee said.
However, when the recession hit, he was asked to return to a store in California. Greenlee declined the offer and he and his wife, Noelle, decided that he should pursue a college education instead.
Greenlee worked as a bank teller, a sales associate and a tutor while completing the prerequisites to the WNC nursing program.
â€œI picked up extra work so I would be able to focus when I was in nursing program,â€ he said.
That concentration and drive have helped Greenlee succeed in the nursing program. â€œIt requires a lot of dedication,â€ he said. The management skills that he acquired while managing restaurant allowed him to successfully lead WNCâ€™s Second-Year Nursing Club.
“Ian has been a wonderful manager of people, respectfully building consensus when needed and making decisions when it is called for,â€ said Michael Malay,â€ a WNC nursing professor and adviser to the club. â€œI have relied heavily on Ian this year and he has always come through. It is my opinion that Ian is a born leader and will achieve whatever goals he sets for himself in life.â€
Greenlee is on track to graduate in May, and will begin the new graduate nurse residency program at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. Eventually, he will continue his education, pursuing bachelorâ€™s and masterâ€™s degrees at the University of Nevada, Reno, and ultimately becoming a nurse practitioner focusing on critical care.
â€œI chose it more because I really like working with people, and I enjoy the science. Mentally itâ€™s stimulating and I get to help others,â€ he said.
Greenleeâ€™s life has become even busier as he and Noelle welcomed their first child, Ryker, barely a month ago. Greenlee has learned that some tasks that he usually performs have to wait or be delegated.
â€œCompartmentalization. Prioritize. When my son was born, there was too much to do everything. You have to pick what you can do,â€ he said.
The $5,000 scholarship award comes at an opportune time for Greenlee and his family.
â€œIt will relieve some financial burden,â€ he said. â€œAnd with my twoâ€œ years coming up at UNR, itâ€™s already gone.â€