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Tranquility Park on tap for Village of Hope

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Photo by Judith Pannebaker
Arthur Nagel Community Clinic Executive Director Bruce Hanks and Helping Hand Executive Director Jesse Parks presented Bandera County Commissioners with a schematic drawing of a completed Village of Hope. Tranquility Park will be the facility's latest component.

In anticipation of the dedication of Tranquility Park in an expanded Village of Hope, Helping Hand Executive Director Jesse Parks and Arthur Nagel Community Clinic Executive Director Bruce Hanks appeared before Bandera County Commissioners Court on Thursday, March 26. They brought a resolution that would declare "The Village of Hope Day," which commissioners happily approved and signed. The day will be declared at the park's dedication.
In 1983, local churches organized Bandera County Helping Hand as a safety net for families in need - those whose homes and belongings had been destroyed by fire or flood or who had been impacted by a job loss.
But, as the adage goes: "No good deed goes unpunished." In 2002, a flood wiped out the Helping Hand building and its contents. Against all odds, however, the organization's board of directors voted unanimously to rebuild and, what was even more amazing, spent the next several weeks assisting more than 600 flood victims - without any discernible supplies.
Additionally, through generous donations of individuals, foundations and local businesses, Helping Hand purchased 3.7 acres out of the flood plain on the northern edge of the City of Bandera. The first component of the Village of Hope was a 7,200 square foot $710,000 Crisis Intervention Center. At the building's dedication, the board president at that time, Comellia Rue, announced, "Our next building will be a free medical clinic for the most underserved people of Bandera County."
True to Rue's words, the Arthur Nagel Community Clinic opened on May 12, 2008, after $584,000 was raised. Since then, thousands of low-income families have received free health services. The clinic's healthcare providers deliver professional and compassionate care to every patient - whether they present with minor respiratory infections or life-threatening diseases.
A capital campaign, which raised $434,000 for Tranquility Park, will enable Helping Hand and the Arthur Nagel Clinic to join forces to combat chronic disease. The culmination of this phase will be both a beautiful park for county residents and a health facility that will offer care designed to save lives by reducing the prevalence of chronic disease in Bandera County.
To this end, new tools will include a walking and jogging trail, community garden and cooking classes, among others. Additionally, the clinic's medical staff will monitor the progress of each program participant. Helping Hand staff will manage the park.
"This park is a fulfillment of a dream. Over the gate leading into the property is this simple name: 'The Village of Hope'," Parks told commissioners. "But The Village will become more than just a name. It will be a place of caring and healing and hope.
"Helping Hand cares for people in crisis. The clinic helps people heal. Tranquility Park will offer hope to those suffering from chronic disease. These three entities have just one mission - to improve the quality of life for the people of Bandera County."
The Bandera County Courier will carry information about the dedication of Tranquility Park to which the entire community is invited.