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LUMBERTON – The name of a local family who have played an important role in regional health care for decades was raised on a tower on Monday.
The Board of Trustees of UNC Health Southeastern inaugurated the seven-story patient bed tower of the healthcare system as the Rust Tower during 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 health system executives during a ceremony broadcast live on Facebook.
“The Rust family has an extreme sense of volunteering and commitment to Robeson County and our health care system,” said Lennon. “Your leadership and leadership have assisted UNC Health Southeastern in triumphs and challenges while they have never strayed from their true mission to bring the best that health care can offer to the citizens of our service area.”
UNC Health Southeastern President / CEO Joann Anderson recalled former board member James “Randy” Rust and his influence during her early days as CEO.
“Having worked with the Rust family for 14 years, I appreciate their dedication to doing what is right to help the most people,” said Anderson. âThey have worked together to ensure that health care is always available in our region. The naming of the tower is representative of their desire to make health care accessible to everyone. “
At the end of the ceremony, Lisa and Kenneth Rust responded on behalf of the family.
âIt is indeed a great privilege to be here today, and we thank you with the greatest humility for this honor,â said Lisa Rust. âAs much as you honor us today, we acknowledge that you could put any 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 (it’s me because we are) love every day. If our name is associated with this kind of love, then indeed you have done us a great honor and I thank you. “
Kenneth Rust reflected on the importance of his and his father’s service in the health system.
“In the past decade or two, many rural hospitals have struggled, many are downsizing and even more are closing their doors,” he said. âBut given this trend, this institution is thriving. Local access to quality health care, especially in rural counties like Robeson County, is a fragile privilege. This is one of the first truths that generations of board members quickly learn as they begin their service. â
In the past 35 years, three members of the Rust family have either worked in the health system or on the foundation’s board of trustees.
James “Randy” Rust served on the Health Systems Board of Trustees for 27 years from 1986 to 2013. During his tenure, Rust was Chairman of the Board from 1991-1992 and then again from 1999-2003. In 2014, he was granted trustee emeritus status to recognize his dedication and dedication to Southeastern and patients across the Southeastern region.
Randy Rust was also a member of the Board of Trustees from 1990 to 1998. While serving on the health system board, he saw significant growth in outpatient departments, rehabilitation centers and fitness centers, emergency and oncology services, and the tower patient bed expansion. He also supported and assisted with Take it to the Top! Capital Campaign, which raised more than $ 4.6 million for emergency care and cancer treatment improvement projects and provided private rooms to virtually all hospital patients. Rust demonstrated unwavering support and confidence in the proposed open heart surgery center in partnership with Duke Health, despite many setbacks during the five-year approval process in which he traveled to many cities across North Carolina to speak on behalf of the citizens of North Carolina community represented by him.
Randy Rust and his wife Mary Anne served on several of the Foundation’s gala committees. He was recognized nationwide for his leadership and advocacy in the healthcare sector, receiving the North Carolina Hospital Association’s Trustee Service Award in 2002 and being elected to the NCHA Board of Trustees for a three-year term in 2003.
Kenneth Rust has been a member of the UNC Health Southeastern Board of Trustees since 2015, including as Chairman for the period 2017-2020. During his tenure as chairman, he led numerous projects, including the partnership exploration initiative launched in August 2018, which ended with the announcement on December 3, 2020 that the Board of Trustees had signed a Management Services Agreement with UNC Health. He served in the early and uncertain days of the COVID-19 pandemic until a vaccine was available in December 2020. Other projects he led included the transition of the neonatal intensive care unit of the medical center to classification as a Level II unit, the Upgrading the center’s medical operating rooms to a state-of-the-art operating room, Hurricane Florence and all the devastation that followed, plus the first graduate class for doctors at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Lisa Rust began her work on the Board of Trustees in 2000 and was chairwoman from 2009 to 2011. During her tenure as Chair, she oversaw many fundraising drives for UNC Health Southeastern affiliates, including the Southeastern Hospice and the Southeastern Hospice House; Gibson Cancer Center, WoodHaven Nursing, Alzheimer’s, and Rehabilitation Center; WoodHaven Short Term Rehabilitation; Emergency services; Behavioral health; and the Academic Endowment Fund. Her support and expertise contributed to the success of the Southeastern Heart Center Campaign, which raised $ 1.6 million, where she served as vice-chair.
Lisa and Kenneth served on a number of Foundation gala committees and were co-chairs in 2002. Lisa Rust continues to serve on the board of directors raising awareness and funding for the UNC Health Southeastern Foundation.