Presented by: The Dallas Morning News

Baylor Medical Center at Irving turns 50 this year. To announce a special fundraiser called “TREEmendous,” the Irving Healthcare Foundation held a reception at the Four Seasons called “Christmas in July.” The reception included greetings from Santa, holiday cookies and miniature trees.

Foundation vice chair Diana Pfaff welcomed guests and introduced Baylor Irving president Cindy Schamp.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a special part of our hospital,” Schamp told the packed room.

Pfaff then announced the chairs for TREEmendous. They are Carol and Dr. Peter Heidbrink and honorary chairs Kathy and Clinton Howard.

Clint Howard talked about the history of the hospital and his role in getting it built.

“From 1950 to 1960, Irving was the fastest growing city in Texas, by percentage, and by the end of the decade, it had a population of 45,000,” Howard said. “There was no overnight hospital bed between Dallas and Fort Worth. Irving had 21 doctors … but patients had to go to a hospital in Dallas — even in the case of medical emergencies.”

Because taxes went to support the county hospital, Howard continued, Irving could not get tax support. A Hospital Authority was formed, bonds were sold, a federal grant was secured and a fund drive took place. Las Colinas developer Ben Carpenter donated the land. The hospital took four years to build and opened its doors in November 1964.

The hospital still needs funds, especially to expand its busy emergency room. The TREEmendous fundraiser, set for Nov. 25 at at the Four Seasons, will include 20 decorated trees and 30 decorated wreaths for sale and in an auction.

To learn more, call 972-579-4393 or visit healthyirving.org

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