While Dave stayed on the reservation through high school, he was always eager for adventure, and soon took jobs in various cities and states, including one stint working at O’Hare Airport, but it was in Kalispell, Montana, in his thirties, that Dave’s life came to a dramatic turning point.
That’s when Dave met his mentor, Dr. Garry Parker, who gave him the best advice he ever got: “You can go through life with your high school degree, but you being Native American and from a small town, a college degree would take you amazing places.” So, at 32, Dave decided to try community college. He got an associate’s degree. Then he got a bachelor’s. Then he added a master’s. It was then, in grad school at Montana State, that he met and married Monica. Both of them decided to pursue doctorates at the University of Oklahoma that had a program suited for both. Eventually, after 11 years of college, Dave became Doctor Dave, earning his PhD in Counseling Psychology at Oklahoma.
After graduation, Dr. Dave had an obligation to the Indian Health Service – they’d helped finance his program – and that took the couple to Oregon. Monica later got a job offer in Reno, Nevada, and that’s where the two spent the remaining years of their marriage. (Monica passed in 2017.)
In 2018, sister Jen invited Dave and their brother to come visit her at The Resort. After a week’s visit – a perfect Springtime week in the desert — the brother said to Dave, “If you don’t move down here, you’re crazy.” Dave moved into The Resort on Thanksgiving Day, 2019.