EDITORIAL: Regional Rehab

The Regional Rehabilitation Center’s long-anticipated reoccupation of its refurbished and upgraded headquarters on Pegram Drive in Tupelo guarantees continuing one-stop treatment for thousands of clients who depend on its services for recovery and, in some cases, developing personal independence otherwise impossible.
Regional Rehab, as the center is widely known, exists because of the founding vision and passion of John A. “Red” Rasberry, a widely known former Lee County political officeholder and businessman who dedicated his energy to a facility that would treat everyone with conditions needing rehabilitative therapy – free of charge.
The remarkable success of the center extends across nearly a half-century.
The center’s original space was constructed in 1962, with additions expanding the operations space.
The building’s age simply caught up with it, and in 2008 work started on a $2.3 million renovation and upgrade, requiring the program to use temporary quarters in Cedars Health Center, a part of Mississippi Methodist Senior Services’ Traceway campus. Regional Rehab moved out of that space to make way for a renovation at Cedars, and its programs became transient – providing services to clients in their homes or other loaned spaces.
Regional Rehab expects to move home, beginning this weekend, and resume services in early November on Pegram Drive. It has about 2,000 clients this year.
The range of services and the number of people treated – all ages – is remarkable. Therapy is offered for physical problems, stroke recovery, hearing issues, autism, dyslexia, problems with joints and movement, reading, speech issues and a host of other client-specific needs. A single public grant from the Mississippi Department of Health helps fund an early intervention regimen for children with special needs from birth to age 3.
Mathews, who first worked at the center in 1965 as a speech therapist, said new equipment at the renovated center will make treatments more effective for many clients.
The center has about 2,000 clients, and they come from 25 northern Mississippi counties, but no one is turned away.
“We never say no,” executive director Kay Mathews said.
Financial commitments from eight counties, including millage dedicated to the center in Lee County and a financial commitment from the city of Tupelo’s tax funds, plus private giving, are mainstays.
The center, Mathews said, has directly touched and helped 150,000 families.
Regional Rehab’s record of extraordinary work deserves continuing financial support from across our region.

NEMS Daily Journal

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