WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — After delays during the pandemic, community members finally gathered outside the brand-new Community Healthcare Center at Zundy.

They cut the ribbon in front of the first-ever school-based healthcare center here in Wichita Falls, something that’s been years in the making.

“This is a labor of love, it’s a ministry for all of us involved,” Community Healthcare Center CEO Allen Patterson said.

“We really started, just like this 25 years ago, in a temporary building like you see here, and look what’s happened,” CHC board member and the man who spearheaded the fundraising, Ralph O. Harvey III said

Harvey was the lucky one given the honor of cutting the ribbon, and for good reason!

Harvey, along with Ray Clymer and Bob Gunn, spearheaded the fundraising campaign to bring the CHC on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to Wichita Falls in the early 90s.

“We’ve had great success on the east side of town, and we’re going to duplicate it over here,” Harvey said.

As you can tell, Harvey’s work certainly did not stop there.

“He took it as his personal challenge to raise the money and he pulled it off,” Patterson said.

More than 25 years later, Harvey finally sees his vision come to life, with outpouring support from the community.

“It’s an easy ask, we’ve been accepted, the generosity of the people of Wichita Falls, we’re celebrating this opening today, with a building that’s totally paid for,” Harvey said.

Just one less thing to worry about as they use their federally qualfied health center designation to provide a much needed service to families in need

“We’re the only one in this 12,000 square mile region, so we’re using that designation the best we can, to help this community it can be the best it can be,” Patterson said.

“It’s filled a great need in our community for those that are uninsured, it makes it affordable to see a doctor,” Harvey said.

And this just adds to being able to reach more students.

“If a kid is sick, they have a hard time going to school, if they have a hard time going to school, they have a hard time learning, if they have a hard time learning, it’s hard for them to become a contributing members of society downstream, these things, these health centers do a lot to change that,” Patterson said.

Not only keeping more kids in-school and healthy, but everyone in the community too.

For all info on the new healthcare center, find a link to their website by clicking here — and their Facebook by clicking here.