Covenant celebrates 100 years on the South Plains

Covenant celebrates 100 years on the South Plains
Covenant VP Paul Arrington (Source: KCBD Video)
Covenant VP Paul Arrington (Source: KCBD Video)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It's hard to believe that any business in Lubbock would be celebrating 100 years, but that's the case for Covenant Health System. Aside from the name, its people have been in the health ministry here since 1918.

So 2018 is the year for many upcoming events to celebrate and appreciate how medicine has changed in the past 100 years.

Dr. Bob Salem, a vascular surgeon, has been on the medical team at Covenant for a very long time. He says there are many great moments to remember over the years, but one year stands out as significant, 1970.

"That year, three big things happened at Methodist: The tornado in May of 1970. The majority of those patients were cared for at the largest hospital in the city at that time, Methodist Hospital. 26 people were killed that night and 500 injured."

Dr. Salem said something else great happened that year with the help of Dr. Joe Arrington, Dr. Sam King, Dr. Don Bricker, and some of his personal training from Houston's Dr Michael Debakey.

"Later that year in 1970, we performed the first open heart surgery in West Texas. So those two events showed that Methodist was in the big league. We could run with the big boys in taking care of hearts and mass trauma and mass casualties."

He also credits the opening of the Texas Tech School of Medicine at about the same time, providing a new function of Methodist as a teaching hospital, since University Medical Center had not opened yet.

Paul Arrington, Vice President of Covenant Health, says much is planned to celebrate this centennial anniversary.

"We are developing a book commemorating the first 100 years, a documentary film, and we have all kinds of volunteer events. We're trying to hit a thousand hours of volunteer time around the city in various agencies and we're over 200 hours so far."

He adds that that community is invited to their annual Story Tellers event which is planned at the Cactus Theater on May 5. That will be a fun evening with songwriting artists coming in from Nashville to perform.

For more on all the special events and volunteer efforts in conjunction with the centennial, Covenant has set up a special website,  There you can also watch the new documentary celebrating these first 100 years.

Copyright 2018 KCBD. All rights reserved.