Good Samaritan Society President and CEO Randy Bury and wife Sonia want to make an indelible impact on the lives of Native American students. The couple, through the Good Samaritan Foundation, is establishing an endowment for the Sanford Health Lakota Nation Scholarship.
“For me, it’s my history and career in health care. I was born and raised in South Dakota. I’ve been in health care in South Dakota for 40 years," Randy says. "Throughout my career, I had a lot of opportunities to interact with tribes and health care on our reservations. I just saw many of the needs."
The ongoing donations are providing long-term support for two existing $2,500 scholarships. Scholarships are awarded during the Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City.
Good Samaritan Foundation Executive Director Ali Langseth says the fund will “accelerate an existing program, providing not only for the sustainability of it, but enabling it to grow over time to support more students.”
'Education is really the foundation'
While Randy is from the Webster area, Sonia grew up in Britton, South Dakota. After 22 years serving at the Society, the former director of learning services retired in 2018.
“Education is really the foundation of people being able to put together the life for themselves that they want,” Sonia says. “We’re glad to have the opportunity to help with that hand up.”
Each year, Native American high school students will apply for the post-secondary scholarships.
“Any kind of assistance that our students can get to help get to that second level is always appreciated and definitely needed,” says Dani Walking Eagle, St. Francis Indian School Superintendent and LNI board member.
Applications are already coming in for this year’s LNI taking place in Rapid City Dec. 15-18. The scholarship winners will be announced during the 44th annual event featuring athletics, academics, fine arts and Lakota culture.
“The Lakota Nation Invitational has always stood behind academics," Dani says. "We certainly appreciate the collaboration with Sanford Health in bringing about these scholarships."
'Continue to grow' number of scholarships
Randy and Sonia hope students use these scholarships to become doctors, lawyers, teachers and more.
“What I would hope is that 10-15 years from now, there are kids who have taken advantage of this program and then are bringing those skills back to the reservation," Randy says.
Kids who are learning new skills and bringing that talent back to the reservation to benefit everyone there.
Sonia adds it’s just the beginning, and “whether we contribute to the growth or others contribute to that growth, we’d hope to see that continue to grow.”