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Rush inducts new members of 25-Year Club, Hall of Fame

By Staff
Special to The Star
Rush Health Systems inducted two new members into its 25-Year Club, and four new members into the Rush Hall of Fame, at a special annual reception held Friday.
The 25-Year Club has more than 100 members, made up of people currently employed and some who have retired. The new inductees recognized Friday were Sandy Wiggins and Janice Rivers.
Wiggins began her career at Rush in 1975 as a staff nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. She continued a distinguished nursing career at Rush, becoming manager of the Critical Care Unit in 1993 and later director of Critical Care Services and Cardiac Product Lines.
Rivers joined Rush in 1969 as a floater in the lab, later becoming a medical technologist in the Microbiology Department. She pursued a degree in biology from Birmingham Southern College, and completed her internship at Lloyd Nolan Hospital.
The Rush Hall of Fame was established in 1985 and currently has 12 members. The four new members inducted Friday are J.C. McElroy, Jackie Massey, Bill Woods and Calvin Watson.
J.C. McElroy began with Rush Foundation Hospital in 1960 as a purchasing agent. He moved into personnel, then became assistant administrator before stepping up as a director of Rush Foundation Hospital and Rush Medical Group.
The growth and expansion Rush has experienced are attributed in large part to McElroy's leadership and guidance. He is described by co-workers as a firm, fair leader, one who has great expectations, a dynamic person and a mentor to many. His motto is, "We are our brother's keeper."
Jackie Massey began her career at Rush Foundation Hospital as a secretary for Dr. Leslie V. Rush Sr. and Dr. Lowry Rush Sr. Over the years, she became involved with medical records, including transcription, statistical information and coding. She was the first director of Medical Records and played an integral role in the Joint Commission of Hospital Accreditation Organization, which accredited Rush in 1967.
Bill Woods was hired in 1949 as Rush's first pharmacist, one of only a few in the state. He was finishing his education at Ole Miss when he met one of the "Rush brothers," who asked him to visit Meridian.
Woods initiated many programs over the years, including the "unit dose system," and held classes for pharmacy technicians another first for Meridian. In the early days, he taught classes on drug calculation and pharmacology. He taught similar classes at Matty Hersee Hospital.
Co-workers say Calvin Watson epitomizes what Rush is "all about" in terms of customer service, his willingness to help people and his commitment to being his brother's keeper.
Hired in August 1954, he worked in the Housekeeping Department and joined the Nursing Services Department in the early 1970s. By the mid 1980s, he was assigned to the Plant Operation staff. There he served in several positions, but one of the most enjoyable and memorable was when he wore a red coat and met patients, family members and their friends at the door as a greeter.
Co-workers say he loved his work and the people he met knew it. Even today, his smile and desire to help others still brings people back to Rush. This is the legacy he leaves to the staff and friends of Rush Foundation Hospital.