Former RUF leader returns to Ft. Worth; in nursing facility

Less than three months after a bicycle accident left him in a coma, the former TCU Reformed University Fellowship leader has been transported back to Fort Worth.Dustin Salter, former RUF leader, was moved from Greenville, S.C., on Jan. 31 to the Plaza at Ridgmar, a local skilled-nursing facility, said Ronald Pitcock, an assistant English professor and friend of the family.

Salter was transported from Greenville through Mercy MedFlight, a charitable air ambulance based out of Fort Worth. Alan Bonderud, a member of the family’s local church, is executive director of the company, Pitcock said.

Salter’s wife, Leigh Anne, and their three children, Jacob, 9, Nathan, 7, and Meredith, 2, moved back to Fort Worth the day before.

“They lived here the previous eight years and had a lot of friends here,” Pitcock said. “This is a place that felt like home.”

On Nov. 8, Salter fell off of his bicycle while riding with his two sons a block away from his home in South Carolina. He was not wearing a helmet. Salter was placed into a medically induced coma after the accident.

Pitcock said Salter is now considered to have a traumatic brain injury. He sometimes responds when asked to raise a thumb or follow with his eyes, according to the Web site of his former church, Redeemer Presbyterian in Travelers Rest, S.C.

Salter started RUF at TCU eight years ago but left last spring for Furman University in South Carolina to be closer to his family.

Many friends and students have visited Salter and his family since his return to Fort Worth, including Lauren Babbitt, a senior movement science major, and Maggie Truitt, a junior radio-TV-film major. Both knew Salter from when he was the RUF campus minister.

“He’s been a great minister, mentor, teacher and friend to me and many other people,” Truitt said.

Truitt said she went to visit Salter’s family in South Carolina after finals last semester.

“Moving back to Fort Worth allows the family to be back with friends and a network of people who can support and love them throughout this time of need,” Truitt said.

RUF is the campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America, although campus chapters are nondenominational in terms of their fellowship, according to TCU’s RUF Web site.

“Dustin’s sphere of influence continues to amaze me as we hear about the people who were touched by his life,” Babbitt said. “We love him and ask for continued prayers for him.