For new Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services member and Cullman native Leah Patterson Lust, the opportunity to represent Congressional District 4 is a duty she takes very seriously.
Lust, who sustained a spinal cord injury at age 17 in a car accident and uses a wheelchair for mobility, will provide the board with a more-detailed view of the challenges faced by those with disabilities. She said it is an honor to represent the people of her region and the rest of the state to do her part to bring solutions to some of these challenges.
“I hope to represent north central Alabama well,” she said. “The people in this area with disabilities and throughout thestate have many needs. I hope that I can bring information to the table that will be beneficial and that will help the agency as it tries to meet the needs of the people.”
When she was notified of her appointment, Lust said she was excited and is ready to get to work.
“I am eager to serve in whatever way that I can to be beneficial to the people of Alabama,” she said. “I was honored to be mentioned and honored to serve. It really meant the world to me.”
Lust is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.
Her career began at Druid City Hospital (DCH) in Tuscaloosa, where she served as a staff social worker for two years before moving to Cullman Regional Medical Center as director of social work for 10 years. Lust was elected probate judge of Cullman County, and after a six-year term became a private counselor. She assists individuals and families in the areas of crisis intervention, marriage and family, substance abuse, and grief and bereavement.
Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw said Lust’s experiences, both personally and professionally, make her a great addition to the board.
“I believe Mrs. Patterson Lust is an outstanding candidate for this appointment and presents a unique opportunity for the Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services to add a strong voice for Alabamians with disabilities,” she said in a nomination letter to Gov. Kay Ivey. “In my recent meeting with her, she expressed that she is humbled by the possibility of this new challenge and is eager to serve.”
Lust is a current member of the Day Star House Board and a founding director of OASIS: Suicide Prevention Outreach. She is a past member of the state of Alabama Rehabilitation Council and a former chair of the state of Alabama Independent Living Council.
She lives in Cullman County with her husband of 16 years, Michael.