As Dr. Pierpont “Pepper” Brown read through the qualifications of the Samuel O. Poole Award winner, Dr. William “Buddy” Langston looked around with wide eyes.
And then he knew.
“I think y’all should take over national security, because y’all got this past me without me having a clue,” Langston said when receiving the award.
Members of the Medical Center Foundation’s James H. Downey Society honored Langston on Thursday night, the fourth doctor to receive the non-annual award.
“As someone who cares deeply about leaving the community better than he found it, there is no more fitting recipient of this special award than Dr. Langston,” Medical Center Foundation Chairman Jim Moore said in a statement. “The mark he has made on our community is embodied by those generations of children he cared for — especially from families who weren’t able to pay — who are now adults in our community. His generous spirit lives on through them, as well as through the outstanding physician leadership and volunteer service he still provides to this day.”
Langston jumped in to the Atlanta medical field before even starting college.
“It was there at the age of 16 he began practicing medicine without a license when he was suturing people up at the emergency room at Grady (Hospital),” Brown said.
As the first practice north of Atlanta to accept Medicaid, Langston was considered by his colleagues to be “the conscience of the physician group” by providing quality care irrespective of a patient’s ability to pay.
He is also one of the founding members of The Longstreet Clinic and the 36th physician in the community. Langston served as chief of staff at Northeast Georgia Medical Center and retired in 2002.
“I’m sure that if Dr. Poole were here this evening, he would be very pleased to know that Buddy is receiving this award,” Brown said.
Langston said he “could not have been happier” to have practiced medicine in Gainesville and the community around him.