LUMBERTON – The name of a local family who have played a vital role in regional health care for decades rose on a tower on Monday.
The UNC Health Southeastern Board of Trustees dedicated the healthcare system’s seven-story patient bed tower as the Rust Tower in an unveiling ceremony at the main entrance to the medical center. Board Chairman Wayland Lennon unveiled a sign with the new name in front of an audience of the Rust family, board members and healthcare system leaders in a ceremony broadcast live on Facebook.
“The Rust family have an extreme sense of volunteerism and commitment to Robeson County and our health care system,” said Lennon. “Their guidance and leadership has helped UNC Health Southeastern overcome triumphs and challenges, never straying from their true mission of providing the citizens of our service area with the best of health care. “
UNC Health Southeastern President / CEO Joann Anderson recalled former board member James “Randy” Rust and his influence during his early days as CEO in her remarks.
“Having worked with the Rust family for 14 years, I have appreciated their commitment to doing what is right for the greatest number,” said Anderson. “They have worked collectively to ensure that health care is always available in our region. The name of the tower is representative of their desire to make health care accessible to all.
To conclude the ceremony, Lisa and Kenneth Rust responded on behalf of the family.
“It is indeed a great privilege to be here today and with the greatest humility we thank you for this honor,” said Lisa Rust. “As much as you honor us today, as much we recognize that you could put a number of names on the outside of this building and it would still be a shell without the men and women inside the building who practice ubuntu ( I am, because we are) love every day. If our name is associated with this kind of love, then you have indeed done us a great honor, and I thank you for that.
Kenneth Rust reflected on the importance of his service and that of his father on the health system board.
“Over the past ten or twenty years, many rural hospitals have struggled, many are downsizing and even more closing their doors,” he said. “Yet in the face of this trend, this institution is thriving. Local access to quality health care, especially in any rural county, such as Robeson County, is a fragile privilege. This is one of the first truths generations of board members quickly learn when they begin their service. “
For the past 35 years, three members of the Rust family have served on the board of directors of the health care system or the Foundation.
James “Randy” Rust served on the health care board for 27 years, from 1986 to 2013. During his tenure, Rust served as chairman of the board in 1991-1992 and again in 1999-2003. He was awarded Director Emeritus status in 2014 to honor his commitment and dedication to the Southeast and the patients served throughout the Southeast region.
Randy Rust also served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors from 1990 to 1998. During his tenure on the Health System Board, he saw significant growth in outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, and drop-in centers. in shape, emergency and oncology departments, and the addition of the La tour patient bed. He also supported and helped with the Take it to the Top! Capital Campaign, which has raised more than $ 4.6 million for projects to improve emergency care and cancer treatment and to provide private rooms to virtually all hospital patients. Rust has demonstrated unwavering support and faith in the open heart surgery center offered in cooperation with Duke Health despite many setbacks during the five-year approval process, during which he visited many cities. of North Carolina to speak on behalf of the citizens of the community he represented.
Randy Rust and his wife, Mary Anne, served on several Foundation Gala committees. He was recognized statewide for his healthcare leadership and advocacy efforts by receiving the North Carolina Hospital Association Trustee Service Award for 2002 and his election to the NCHA Board of Directors in 2003 for a three-year term.
Kenneth Rust has served on the board of directors of UNC Health Southeastern since 2015, most notably as president for the period 2017-2020. During his tenure as President, he led numerous projects, including the Partnership Exploration Initiative, which began in August 2018 and ended with the announcement on December 3, 2020 that the Board administration had signed a management services agreement with UNC Health. He served during the early days and uncertain days of the COVID-19 pandemic until a vaccine became available in December 2020. Other projects he led include the transition of the NICU from the medical center towards classification as a Level II unit, upgrading the medical system from the centre’s operating rooms to a state-of-the-art operating theater, Hurricane Florence and all the devastation that followed, and the first promotion of resident physicians from Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Lisa Rust began her term on the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2000, as President for the period 2009-2011. During her tenure as President, she oversaw numerous fundraising efforts for UNC Health Southeastern affiliates including Southeastern Hospice and Southeastern Hospice House; Gibson Cancer Center, WoodHaven Nursing, Alzheimer’s and Rehabilitation Center; short-term rehabilitation of WoodHaven; Emergency services; Behavioral health; and the University Endowment Fund. Her support and expertise were instrumental in the success of the Southeast Heart Center’s campaign, which raised $ 1.6 million, where she served as co-vice-president.
Lisa and Kenneth have served on a number of Foundation Gala Committees and served as Co-Chairs in 2002. Lisa Rust continues to serve on the Board of Trustees to raise awareness and fundraise for the UNC Health Southeastern Foundation.