Lucy Taylor Fort Fund to support experiences in emergency nursing

Lucy Fort was great in an emergency – she was reliably the first to respond any time someone was in need.

She was a critical care nurse at UNC Hospitals, a two-time graduate of UNC’s School of Nursing (BSN ’58, MSN ‘65) and a member of the faculty. She joined the South Orange Rescue Squad taking regular emergency calls with the squad, furthering the continuing education of squad personnel, and assisting with CPR training with EMS and hospital personnel across the state.

That kind of desire and dedication is a theme in all of Lisa Cloninger’s memories of her Aunt Lucy, who passed away April 28, 2018.

“Lucy spent her whole life helping people. It was never about what she needed. She was a kind-hearted, loving person who gave generously of herself to others.” says Cloninger.

To continue that care in his older sister’s name, Arch Fort (Cloninger’s father and Lucy’s brother) set up a bequest that will support education for students interested in emergency, trauma and critical-care nursing so that they learn to help others in the name of Lucy Taylor Fort. Arch passed away in 2016.

It was the Forts’ upbringing in the small town of Oxford, N.C., that made such an impact on their desire to give, says Cloninger. They grew up during the Great Depression and were fortunate to get an education at UNC-Chapel Hill, a place they dearly loved. They wanted to use what they had been taught in the service of others.

Cloninger, who now stewards the fund, says enabling students to learn to respond to emergency situations as her Aunt Lucy did “just feels right in my heart.”

Cloninger shares a memory that she says epitomizes Lucy’s generous nature.

“When I was a student at N.C. State, I went to Chapel Hill to visit Aunt Lucy for a weekend,” she says. “The creek had risen and flooded some nearby apartments. As soon as I got to Lucy’s house, she said ‘Let’s go. We’ve got to help these families clean out their apartments.’ That was Lucy. Somebody calls, there’s a need and she would answer the call. When it came to lending a helping hand, nothing would hold her back.”