Randi (Kennedy) Gray
Randi (Kennedy) Gray celebrated her 29th birthday Thursday with happy thoughts from completing and meeting her education goals, opening her own business and returning to the town closest to her heart.
Gray, a 2008 graduate of Sallisaw High School, is the new dentist in town. She has her own dental practice known as the Sallisaw Dental Clinic.
“Growing up I always loved going to the dentist. Yeah I was a little weird,” she says laughing.
“But when I had to wear braces and realized what an impact it had on my self-esteem after I had them removed, I decided it was what I wanted to do, plus I wanted to help people and it's why I went into dentistry,” she said.
Gray, who grew up in Sallisaw, completed her undergrad work and received a degree in zoology from the University of Oklahoma. She then obtained her doctor of dental surgery degree from the OU College of Dentistry.
“I could not wait to come back to Sallisaw, and braces are something I wanted to make sure we took care of here,” she said.
Gray said she is thankful for all the people who helped her along the way.
“My grandfather who passed recently was a big influence in my life. His name was Dr. Bert Corley. He always said he had wanted to become a doctor and come back and serve the “great” people of Sequoyah County. I felt the same way as he did coming home. I'm just sad he couldn't come by here to welcome me home,” she said.
“While in high school, I job shadowed all the other local dentists, Dr. Jim and Bob Wells, Dr. Aubrey Henshaw and Dr. Logan Coffee. Dr. Anna Dotson has been an excellent mentor. Everyone in Sequoyah County has been a great support in some way or another,” she said.
Gray said she is still getting situated into her new business and her home.
But when she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family who include her daughter Lilly, 2, and her husband Lance.
“He's from Duncan so he's getting adjusted to Sallisaw, but he says he likes it,” she said.
Gray said her parents, Pat and Carla Kennedy, who live in Sallisaw, are also thankful she is here so they can spend more time with their granddaughter.
“We like to get together as a family and watch movies or take our dogs for walks in the park. We probably need to get more interesting hobbies,” she said, laughing.
Gray said she looks forward to her 10th year high school reunion in September.
“Sometimes I go to Walmart or other businesses and I run into my old high school friends. That's what I love about Sallisaw,” she said.
“I believe Sallisaw has the kindest and friendliest people anywhere and I feel very lucky to be here. I'm a Black Diamond all the way! And I'm so happy to have been raised here, I grew up here and now I've returned to serve the great people of Sequoyah County.”