South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster presented the Order of the Palmetto to George Rentz, first president & CEO of Lexington Medical Center, today at the hospital. The Order of the Palmetto is South Carolina’s highest civilian honor. It recognizes individuals for extraordinary lifetime achievement and service.
“As the first administrator of Lexington Medical Center, Mr. Rentz laid the foundation for delivering the best health care to the people of Lexington County and the Midlands,” said Tod Augsburger, current president & CEO of Lexington Medical Center. “Mr. Rentz is a deserving recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, our state’s highest honor.”
Mr. Rentz began his job in 1968, three years before Lexington Medical Center even opened. He gave more than 300 speeches around the Midlands to tell community members about the hospital and garner support for its success.
When Lexington Medical Center opened in 1971, Mr. Rentz was always looking for better ways for the hospital to serve the health needs of patients and thinking 10 years down the road. He bought land across the county in anticipation of future growth, recognized the need for community medical centers around Lexington County so that patients would have access to health care close to home, and recruited the best physicians and nurses in the Midlands.
He successfully created a culture based on integrity, good reputation, education and work ethic. His enthusiasm and commitment to caring for the community are still reflected in the hospital today. He retired from Lexington Medical Center in 1988.
In addition, Mr. Rentz is a decorated World War II veteran. He served as a paratrooper during the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Purple Heart for suffering from frozen feet in the harsh winter cold. He has also served as a Boy Scouts and church leader.
Today, Mr. Rentz lives in West Columbia. He enjoys spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.