Gulf Coast Health Center celebrates 30 years with fundraising gala Saturday

Published 12:18 am Tuesday, October 15, 2019

To mark 30 years of service to Port Arthur and surrounding areas, Gulf Coast Health Center is preparing to celebrate in style.

“Normally, we do a health fair every year,” said Deborah Freeman, a parliamentarian of Gulf Coast’s board of directors. “This year, we decided it’s our 30th and we need to do some celebration of a sort to do a fundraiser and celebration at the same time.”

Donations are still being accepted for the center’s inaugural gala, scheduled for 6-11 p.m. Saturday at the Bob Bowers Civic Center. Tickets for the black-tie affair are $100 each and a table of 10 is available for $1,000.

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Those who wish to participate can call 877-983-1161 or 409-983-1161.

The band Still Cruisin’ will provide live music.

“We’re going to have a wonderful, delicious meal,” Freeman said. “It’s really going to be such a nice evening.”

Gulf Coast Health Center was established in May 1989 to serve low- to moderate-income persons and their families. However, no one is refused.

“We see families based on sliding scale and their income,” said Dr. Marsha Thigpen, the center’s CEO. “We have our own laboratory and pharmacy on site, and we have our own x-ray.”

The center includes five locations — 2548 Memorial Blvd. and 601B Rev. Ransom Howard St. in Port Arthur, and others in Orange, Silsbee and Jasper — and two mobile medical units, providing primary, dental, behavioral and vision care to approximately 20,000 unique patients and receiving 65,000 visits per year.

“I’ve been practicing medicine in Port Arthur since July 1986,” Thigpen said. “I was here when this health service was part of the city. I’ve seen it when it became its own entity in May 1989. I’m excited about this gala coming about. We’re in the process of building a souvenir book, and we’re happy to bring notice to the community to what we’re doing here and let patients know the services we provide and who we provide it for.”

The gala’s theme is “Heart of the Community” and will honor community spirit and partnerships involving GCHC, according to a news release.

Auction item donations of $100 or more are accepted, and sponsorships range form $250 for a half-page color advertisement to $10,000 for platinum sponsorships. All donations to GCHC, a 501(c)3 organization, are tax deductible.

“We’ve been able to exist just on federal grants,” Thigpen said. “Now we receive state funds and accept Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. We have a very strong board who’ve guided us for 30 years, and we’re showing appreciation to the board members who’ve helped keep us strong.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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