Resolution honors nurse rescuer killed in the bombing’s aftermath

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 19-Apr-2010

The Oklahoma Legislature today passed a resolution honoring the memory of Rebecca Anderson, the rescuer nurse injured while assisting at the site of the A.P. Murrah Building bombing on April 19, 1995. Passage of the resolution coincides with both the anniversary of the bombing and observance of National Organ Donation Month.

The resolution moved forward “in remembrance of the courageous acts of Rebecca Anderson after the bombing of the A.P. Murrah Federal Building” and named Anderson “Nurse of the Day” in perpetuity on April 19 every year to come.

Eileen Grubbs and Ronda Kelley, nurses of the day at the Capitol, said they appreciated the honor extended to Anderson. Grubbs encountered Anderson briefly after the nurse had responded at the bombing site.

Anderson, while responding to those injured, was struck by falling debris. “She had no visible wounds
and came to the emergency room” at the OU Medical Center, Grubbs recalls.
At the hospital, Anderson woke up once briefly after her arrival, before dying.

Grubbs, now working at another local hospital, noted that Anderson’s donated organs helped save lives. Her heart went to Billy Wilcoxson, a military veteran from Duncan, while her kidneys went to recipients in Arizona and New Mexico. Grubbs was transplant coordinator at OU and accepted Anderson’s organs for transplant.

Grubbs is a fourth generation nurse, following in the steps of her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother. 

Kelley, who works at the OU Medical Center, did not know Anderson but admires her example. She said serving as nurse of the day at the capitol, an uncompensated position, allows her to “give back to the community.” Kelley is one of eight nurses in her family.

Lead sponsor of the resolution was state Rep. Scott Martin of Norman. Every member of the House joined as a co-sponsor. The measure passed in the state House this morning (Monday, April 19). The resolution than passed the state Senate this afternoon, with Sen. Jonathan
of Norman as the sponsor. John Sparks, a Democrat from Norman, was also a leading advocate for the resolution.

The resolution praised Anderson’s “sacrifice and her gift of life to others.” The idea to honor her originated with Eileen Grubbs. She raised it with Vicki Rankin, a lobbyist who works with the Oklahoma Nurses Association. Rankin then sought legislative support, leading to Monday’s vote in the two chambers of the Legislature.