David Rusk, who helped establish the VA Coffeehaus and the Veterans Freedom Music Festival, has been chosen by the Seniors Foundation as this year’s Keystone Award recipient.
Rusk will receive the coveted award during a luncheon scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at the Country Club of Lincoln, 3200 S. 24th St. The Keystone Award recognizes an individual, couple or group who have provided a lasting legacy that enhances the quality of life for older adults in the community.
The family of the late Maurice Russell, a longtime community service leader, pharmacist and former Seniors Foundation board president, will accept the Seniors Foundation Remembers Award in his memory. The Remembers Award recognizes an individual who made an impact on the lives of older adults in Lincoln.
Guest speaker for the luncheon will be Dale Johnson, KFOR Radio’s news director and host of “Lincoln Live.”
The Keystone Award luncheon is an annual fundraiser hosted by the Seniors Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports Aging Partners, an organization that works to ensure the independence and full life of the seniors and aging veterans it serves.
Luncheon tickets are $65 per person, $600 per table of 10, and may be ordered at seniorsfoundation.org. Look for the Events tab and for Keystone Reservations, which will direct you to the form. For more details, contact the Seniors Foundation at 402-441-6179 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past recipients of the Keystone Award, originally called the Community Service Award, include Helen Boosalis, Gil Savery, Lela Shanks, Jerry Joyce, Joe Hampton, Harland Johnson, R. David Wilcox, Dayle Williamson, Dorothy Applebee and Coleen Seng.
This year's award recipients
David Rusk is a long-time Lincoln resident. In his professional life, he was a staff member of KFOR radio. After his retirement, Rusk helped to establish the VA Coffeehaus, which promotes the health and well-being of veterans through music. On the third Friday every month, the VA Coffeehaus meets in the auditorium at Victory Park, the Veterans Administration medical campus near 70th and O streets.
Since the VA Coffeehaus began in 2011, Rusk has scheduled volunteer music groups and solo musicians monthly to entertain those in attendance. He also spearheaded a large fundraising initiative to provide new state-of-the-art sound systems for the VA Auditorium.
In 2010, Rusk helped establish the Veterans Freedom Music Festival, a yearly event each June to honor veterans. As a member of the local band "Three Chords and a Cloud of Dust," Rusk provides entertainment almost weekly for retirement communities and assisted living and memory care facilities in and around Lincoln.
Maurice Russell passed away Dec. 26, 2018, at age 90. A pharmacist for over 60 years, his community service included: Seniors Foundation board of directors, where he also served as president; Family Service board of directors; United Way Foundation of Lincoln and Lancaster County board of directors; St. Paul United Methodist Men, president; Crime Commission-Region II; American Red Cross; Lincoln Council on Alcoholism and Drugs; Bryan College of Health Sciences; and the St. Paul United Methodist Church Council.
Russell lived in an orphanage in Oklahoma from ages 5-12 because his mother was too ill to care for him. He graduated from pharmacy school at the University of Nebraska and got his license in 1954. He worked at Smith Pharmacy from 1953-59, at which time he bought the store at 22nd and Vine streets. After the city bought the land for a project, he joined Eli Lilly and Company as the second black pharmaceutical sales representative and worked there for 27½ years until retiring in 1999. After retirement, he continued to work at Russ’s Pharmacy and later at Clinic with a Heart.
His widow Marcia Russell and daughter Carla Steadman will accept the Seniors Foundation Remembers Award.