Born and raised in Bostic, Kristin Austin embodies the best in small town friendly Rutherford County.
The nurse practitioner who holds a masters degree from UNC-Charlotte loves nursing because, "growing up in a Christian home, I was nurtured on teachings from the Bible and the commandments of Jesus to serve and love one another. God created mankind in His image and desires for human beings to experience a relationship with Him; He also desires to give new life and healing to all. I believe that through the realization and acceptance of salvation we are brought into a new spiritual life that brings healing and purpose to our lives. Because I have experienced salvation through Jesus Christ, how I treat others, what I value, and how I spend my time is reflective of the grace, forgiveness, and love that I have received from God."
That affirmation came from her graduate school paper on her philosophy of nursing which matches nicely with her new job with Blue Ridge Hope, the local nonprofit that seeks to serve the disadvantaged on a number of fronts including medical care.
Among her duties will be a program called "Care management," which is open to seniors 65 and older who may need help with any number of daily challenges including things like wheelchair ramps and home repairs. While Austin won't be building a ramp or fixing a leaking roof, she can match a need to an agency like Rutherford Housing Partnership which has been doing that kind of work for years.
Similarly Austin will assess other needs and make referrals. Needs might include help paying for medications, assessment of medications and side effects, grooming, laundry, and cooking. She will be in a position, as a nurse, to communicate with the patient's primary care provider as ongoing medical care is needed.
She can be reached through Blue Ridge Hope's office on Main Street, Rutherfordton at 828-202-3075 or through its website, blueridgehope.org.
She is married to Seth Austin and they have one son, Micah.
She has been a nurse practitioner for four years and also works for United Health Care in Rutherford, Polk, McDowell and Cleveland counties.
She graduated from East Rutherford High School and holds an undergraduate degree from Gardner Webb.
She said, "I love helping people and feel like health is as much about mental and spiritual issues as anything else. If you're down or depressed it's going to affect your physical health."
She has also worked for Forest City Family Medicine on East Main Street in Forest City.
"When people have exhausted their resources, I like the feeling of giving someone hope," she said.
Blue Ridge Hope is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which can receive tax deductible donations at its website or through the mail at 185 N. Main Street, Rutherfordton, 28139.