By Alison James, Franklin County Times

One of the pillars of the Russellville business community has served the area now for 50 years. It’s a milestone that calls for celebration, and Burns Nursing & Rehab celebrated its golden anniversary in memorable fashion Friday, hosting Congressman Robert Aderholt as special guest and welcoming employees, friends and community members for a time of nostalgia and fellowship.

Mark DeArman took those gathered on a walk down memory lane, from Burns Nursing Home’s beginnings under his grandparents, Dr. John and Ethel Burns in 1966, through its transition to his mother, Martha Burns DeArman, and to his own part in the facility, which he joined in 2003 and in which he has served as administrator for five years.

“Our mission is to serve our community as recognized leader in quality rehabilitation services and long-term care,” he said. “Our staff always goes above and beyond for our residents.” He particularly recognized the staff for their tireless efforts during the week of the nursing home’s 50th anniversary preparation, during which the facility also underwent annual state inspection. “Our staff was working on ‘Dr. Burns hours,’” he quipped. “It has been a long week, but our staff really worked hard and outdid themselves.”

Aderholt offered his congratulations for the Burns and DeArman families “for your long care, commitment and dedication to this area.” In commemoration, Aderholt will enter details about Dr. John Burns and Burns Nursing & Rehab’s long history into the official congressional record.

Cam DeArman, left, and Mark DeArman present their mother Martha Burns DeArman with a plaque and flowers to recognize her dedication to Burns Nursing & Rehab.

Cam DeArman, left, and Mark DeArman present their mother Martha Burns DeArman with a plaque and flowers to recognize her dedication to Burns Nursing & Rehab.

Mayor David Grissom was also on hand to bestow a special honor upon Burns Nursing Home. Grissom presented a mayoral proclamation naming Aug. 26, 2016, “Dr. John D. Burns Day” in the City of Russellville.

“It’s a great day in the city of Russellville,” Grissom declared in his signature style. “This is a great story of a family-owned and operated business … Thank you so much for what you have done.”

Martha DeArman took the podium last to address the crowd gathered to celebrate with her family. She shared advice given to her by her father when she began working at the nursing home. The crux? Be kind to people.

A table at the celebration boasted portraits of the Burns, both of whom, Martha said, lived at Burns Nursing Home themselves before their passing. Martha’s sister Ginny also once lived in the home, and Martha said she believes – although they never said it – that her parents originally opened the nursing home to ensure long-term care for Ginny, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

The Burns themselves might have benefited from the business they established, but the home stands as a lasting testament to their memory, and their descendants and staff are set to continue in service for years to come.

Editor’s Note:

This article was first published in the August 31, 2016, edition of the Franklin County Times. It is republished here with permission. Click here to view the article on the Franklin County Times’ website.