LUMBERTON — A Lumberton man battling cancer thanked the family whose name is on the center where he is being treated by organizing a luncheon on Thursday in their honor.
“I do have cancer, and the Gibson Center is a wonderful place,” said Jarvis Hodges, who was diagnosed in 2015. “I also want to thank the Gibson family for their part in it. People don’t know all the things Carr Gibson did for Lumberton and the area.”
The luncheon honored the staff of Southeastern Health’s Gibson Cancer Center and the family of the late M. Carr and Alice Gibson.
Hodges said he wanted to express his appreciation to the Gibson Center and its benefactors.
“From Dr. (Marvarella) Stevenson to the other doctors, nurses and others who have cared for me, this is a real fine place,” he said. “It’s worth remembering the Gibson’s support.”
Attending the event were Gibsons’ children: Tom and his wife, Jerri; Bek Gibson Merritt; Lilli Anne Gibson; and Gwen Gibson Eckerson and her husband, Todd.
Carr Gibson, who died in 2009, owned Canal Industries and thousands of acres of timberland, tree farms and other forestry holdings. He was one of the county’s most influential residents.
Gibson was a “true philanthropist,” said Sissy Grantham, Southeastern Health Foundation executive director.
“He was an advocate for the people of this area, in particular their health,” Grantham said. “Serving on the board of directors of Southeastern Health and its Foundation board were true passions for him.”
The Gibsons started the Ribbons for Cancer Recovery endowment in 1998. In 2002, the 7-year-old center was renamed the Gibson Cancer Center.
The Gibson Cancer Center serves the region with radiation oncology, medical oncology and blood disorder treatments. It has had about 18,000 patient visits so far this year.
Tall and soft-spoken, Gibson was a giant in Lumberton. He was elected to the Robeson County Board of Commissioners and the Lumberton Board of Education. He served eight years on the board of trustees of what was then Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
Gibson was a trustee of Pembroke State University and a member of the board of directors of Southern National Corporation. He helped found Lumber River State Park and Lumber River Conservancy, which has preserved thousands of acres of wetlands and other land along the river.
The Gibson family dined with the staff and had the opportunity to interact with them. The lunch was donated by Drew Bullard and the Smithfield’s restaurant in Lumberton.