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Thorsen receives highest N.C. civilian honor

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:03 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:45 a.m. CDT
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(Submitted Photo)
Pictured (from left) are North Carolina State Rep. Nathan Ramsey and Newton native Bruce Thorsen, who received The Order of The Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor awarded by the State of North Carolina, in March.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Bruce D. Thorsen, a native of Newton, was presented The Order of The Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor awarded by the State of North Carolina, in March.

The award was approved by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and presented to Thorsen by State Rep. Nathan Ramsey at ceremonies in Asheville.  

Thorsen was nominated for the award by the Board of Trustees of Mission Healthcare Foundation, where he served as president and CEO for 23 years. It recognizes the important work he accomplished in helping create Mission Children’s Hospital, the only such facility serving a 10,000 square mile region of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, according to Foundation Board Chair John Kimberly. In addition, the award recognizes Thorsen’s focus on uplifting other non-profit organization in the region so they are better able to serve residents and his life-long mentoring of colleagues serving in the non-profit field.   

Thorsen, 67, is a Drake University graduate, the father of four adult children and grandfather of six. He and his wife, the former Janice Estrem of Bondurant, have been married 46 years. He is the son of the late Donald Thorsen and LaVona Thorsen of Newton. Prior to joining Mission he served Mercy Hospital, Iowa City and St. Luke’s Hospital, Cedar Rapids.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine was created in 1965 by the State of North Carolina and is named after the state’s official tree. Other recipients of the award over the past 49 years have included the Rev. Billy Graham, Andy Griffith, Dale Earnhardt, Maya Angelou, Charles Kurault, Michael Jordon, Coretta Scott King, Richard Petty and Bob Timberlake, among others. 

Mission Healthcare Foundation is part of Mission Health, an 800-bed regional health system serving the Southern Appalachians based in Asheville. Mission Foundation is the philanthropic division of the Health System. Since the Foundation’s creation in 1985 it has provided over $160 million to develop new projects and programs for the people served by Mission Health.

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