A proud part of our heritage at HealthKeeperz is our founding deep in the heart of North Carolina’s native population in southeastern North Carolina, by one of the first licensed Native American pharmacists in the Tar Heel State, Howard Brooks. We celebrate our heritage, as well as our present and future contributions to the people of our hometown of Pembroke and Robeson County by sponsoring our community’s signature event, Lumbee Homecoming.
Established in 1968,) Lumbee Homecoming began as a celebration of Indian pride during the civil rights movement. As such, the annual Homecoming event, which typically takes during the last week of June and the first week of July, is a two-week showcase for the successes of the Lumbee people in all facets and branches of modern and tribal society.
Featured in the multi-venue celebration are events aimed at promoting the historic educational, social, economic, political, and cultural contributions to our communities, county, state, and nation. The event draws thousands of scattered Lumbee tribesmen and women back to the native homeland of Robeson County and the Town of Pembroke, generating millions of summertime tourism dollars in southeastern North Carolina.
The annual celebration is hosted by the Lumbee Regional Development Association (LRDA), in close conjunction with the Town of Pembroke and UNC Pembroke, as well as an array of corporate partners, including HealthKeeperz. This year’s homecoming featured live music and cultural films, a daily arts and crafts market, pageants, games (including wrestling, tennis, golf, and basketball) and a 5k fun run, fireworks, and a parade to close the festivities on Saturday, July 8.
On Saturday, July 1, the tribe recognized its significant cohort of veterans of foreign wars with the Lumbee Warriors’ Veterans Military Ball. HealthKeeperz, to further honor its heritage as a Lumbee-founded, Lumbee owned company operating for the health and well-being of both the Lumbee Nation and its neighbors, sponsored the annual Elders Luncheon on July 5 at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Center.
“Every day, we are proud to serve the Lumbee people in the healing work we do at HealthKeeperz,” said company president Tim Brooks. “Since our founding, we have been an embedded, committed part Pembroke, Robeson County, and surrounding communities, and even as we grow into a company that spreads across North Carolina, we will never forget our heritage. That’s why our partnership with the LRDA and our commitment to honoring our tribal elders remain important to us at HealthKeeperz. Our tribe is a gift from God above, and we honor our tribe accordingly.”
To learn more about Lumbee Homecoming, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, visit www.lumbeehomecoming.com.
In a stunning tribute to his professional accomplishments and public service to the residents of southeastern North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper awarded HealthKeeperz founder Howard Brooks with one of the state’s highest civilian honors, induction into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Since 1964, governors of the State of North Carolina have conferred this honor to reflect those who are known for their extraordinary contributions to the state. Brooks is the first recipient of the award chosen by the new governor and former attorney general, the Honorable Roy Cooper. He received the award, fittingly, at the annual Barnabas Banquet, a celebration of the company culture of HealthKeeperz, based on the values of excellence in care for others, selflessness, and uplifting colleagues.
Howard Brooks founded the company as Pembroke Drug Center in 1967, one year removed from his graduation from the School of Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina. One of the first Native American licensed community pharmacists in southeastern North Carolina, Mr. Brooks dedicated his career to providing home-based medical care of the highest quality, regardless of ability to pay.
His faith in the people of his native Pembroke and surrounding rural counties in southeastern North Carolina was rewarded, as he quickly expanded the company into its current service area across much of southeastern North Carolina. Today, HealthKeeperz employs approximately 150 people who care for thousands each year as an integrated health system meeting needs ranging from a wide spectrum of home-based care and therapy to medical devices and hospice care.
In addition to helming a Gospel-centered organization for more than five decades, Mr. Brooks has served many community organizations in a variety of leadership capacities, including his beloved Pembroke Gospel Chapel, as well as Lumbee Guaranty Bank, and the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Known for his generosity to all, he has established the Brenda B. Brooks Distinguished Professorship at UNC-Pembroke in honor of his late wife, as well as the Howard Brooks Endowed Scholarship at Medical University of South Carolina School of Pharmacy.
“Our founder and my father Howard Brooks set a towering example for me and everyone else at the company for what caregiving is all about,” said Tim Brooks, current President of HealthKeeperz. “We are so grateful for this recognition, not only for recognizing a life of selflessness lived for the well-being of others, but for what it means for our region of the state. My father has always believed that there are no better people than the citizens of southeastern North Carolina, and he bet his life on it. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine shows that the people of our state believed in him, too.”
For more information on the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, visit www.longleafpinesociety.org.