Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk of Lee County was honored Nov. 28 with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2018 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award during the VFBF 2018 Annual Convention in Hot Springs.
DeBusk is chairman of DeRoyal Industries of Powell, Tenn. A gifted salesman and business leader, he started his medical products company in 1973 and built it into an industry powerhouse. Along the way he continued to give back to the Appalachian communities where his businesses thrived.
He is currently chairman of the Lincoln Memorial University board of trustees, where he has been a driving force behind creation of the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Lincoln Memorial University College of Law and the university’s newest academic endeavor, the College of Veterinary Medicine. While academic classes are held on the LMU campus in Harrogate, Tenn., the majority of the veterinary students’ field work and hands-on training occurs in Virginia, at the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Center in Lee County.
“As farmers, we do our work day in and day out. And then a farmer like Pete DeBusk comes along. When he gave his own cattle farm to LMU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, he left a legacy that is positively impacting Virginia agriculture,” said Emily Fisher Edmondson of Tazewell County, a member of the VFBF board of directors who nominated DeBusk for the award.
“I can’t thank him enough for leading the charge on this. He loves this region, he loves this land. And now it’s all being used to the good of agriculture and animal health.”
The first class of LMU-trained veterinarians graduated this past spring, and four are now practicing in Southwest Virginia.