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Blue Collar Care, Gold Standard Caring

How Terry Reilly continues to support the underserved

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Theirs are the eyes of hope. In a black-and-white photo from 1971, Rosie and Terry Reilly are sitting on the stoop of their Nampa home, smiling and full of optimism. Above their heads hang two handwritten wooden signs. One reads "Nampa Neighborhood Health Clinic," the other, "La Clinica."

"We needed to keep urine samples in our refrigerator, much to my mother's horror," Rosie said of those early days. "This is a far cry from that first clinic in the back of our house.

Rosie Reilly spoke with Boise Weekly earlier this summer and her eyes twinkled as they probably did when she was 20-something in that black-and-white snapshot taken nearly 45 years ago. She looked over her shoulder to see people streaming through the doors of a new 30,600-square-foot medical and mental health facility, also in Nampa, bearing the name of her late husband. Before summer's end, Terry Reilly Health Services would break ground on another medical, dental and mental health clinic, this time in Caldwell. Terry Reilly officials told BW they're already moving forward with plans to reopen a health clinic on the Boise Bench and have a separate renovation scheduled for a mental/dental facility campus in the Owyhee County community of Homedale. To date, Terry Reilly Health Services operates in a dozen Treasure Valley communities. It's a matter of fact that no other name in Idaho can be attributed to more compassion, caregiving and life-saving treatment than that of Terry Reilly. While St. Alphonsus and St. Luke's medical centers continue to grow via massive real estate deals and acquisitions, Terry Reilly Health Services is the very model for health centers that serve medically underserved urban and rural and urban communities.

"I remember opening the clinic in our living room as if it were yesterday. Our son, Gabriel, was 2 1/2 years old, and I was pregnant with another son, Aaron," said Rosie, as Aaron, Gabriel, their wives and a handful of Rosie's grandchildren stood nearby.

Terry Reilly was a conscientious objector at the height of the Vietnam War. As a result, the Roman Catholic Diocese asked him, as part of what was then called "alternative service" to assist the farmworker community of Canyon County. What began as tutoring for children, quickly became healthcare as Terry and Rosie noticed serious ear infections. They recruited the assistance of Drs. Bob LeBow and Clarence McIntyre to help out and, soon enough, the growing need for services inspired Terry, Rosie, the physicians and a handful of volunteers to open a slightly bigger clinic at the Square Deal Grocery Store, also in Nampa (that building is still the site of a neighborhood clinic). Clinics in Homedale, Kuna, Marsing and Parma followed as did dental and behavioral health services.

More than a few people wonder what Idaho might look like today if Reilly had lived to fulfill what eventually led to political ambitions. He died in a 1986 plane crash while campaigning to become Idaho lieutenant governor.

"I thought I had married Don Quixote," said Rosie.

Heidi Traylor has her own memories.

"I came to this organization in 1992 and had the great fortune of growing up with Terry Reilly Health Services. They took a chance on me when I was a grad student," said Traylor, who first walked in the door as an intern, but then served as a therapist, program director for SANE Solutions, administrator of Allumbaugh House and ultimately executive director of the organization in 2012. "I don't think it's every day that you can find a place that you call home."

It's difficult to get Traylor to sit down for any length of time. If she's not planning for the future, she's opening the doors of yet another clinic or health facility. Some take a bit longer to open their doors than the rest. Case in point: Allumbaugh House, where Traylor managed operations when it first opened.

"This year, we're celebrating the fifth anniversary of Allumbaugh," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who knows all too well how challenging it was to wrangle enough Treasure Valley partners to fund a new community detox center. It took the better part of a decade just to get partners, such as Ada County, the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority, the city of Meridian, St. Al's and St. Luke's, to the table. Asking them to commit to funding the facility's operation was like pulling teeth. In one particularly nasty bit of tension, Ada County even threatened to pull its contribution to Allumbaugh House during a 2010 kerfuffle over magistrate court services that it provides to regional cities. Five years later, it was all smiles as Bieter stood alongside Ada County Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre this summer to celebrate five years of service at Allumbaugh House.

"Once we got the funding set, that was great," Bieter said. "We put out a request of proposals. But honestly, we worried, 'What if nobody shows up?' Well, it was Terry Reilly Health Services. This is the best taxpayer value of any service that I've been involved with."

Trini Demarco knows every inch of Allumbaugh House, as a client and now as a caregiver.

"I thought I had everything: a career in finance, college education, two cars and a home. But it was also a life that was very quickly spiraling out of control. Most of my 20s and my 30s are a blur," Demarco told Boise Weekly during a rare tour of the facility. "My first drink was when I was 12; I remember it to this day. I also remember getting sober because it was here five years ago."

Simply put, Allumbaugh House saved Demarco's life. Today she's a recovery coach and psychiatric technician at the facility.

"Honestly, it keeps me sober," she said. "On Saturday nights, Allumbaugh alumni gather with current patients and we share. Usually, outsiders are not allowed to the unit to protect the privacy of the patients, but Saturday nights are incredibly special. It's all about new beginnings"

"New beginnings" are also the watchwords in Caldwell at what will soon become Hope Plaza, including a shelter for women and children escaping family violence, a day care and youth center. The first facility on the campus, which will sit at 14th Avenue and Elgin Street in an underserved neighborhood of north Caldwell, will be a new 6,700-square-foot Terry Reilly medical center.

"We were thrilled when we secured the federal funds to bring in another clinic. But that money came with a catch," Traylor told BW, standing in a giant dirt lot where the clinic will appear in the next several months. "We had to be operational within 120 days. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to ask, 'What's the plan, Heidi?'"

The plan is that a temporary building has already been placed on the site to begin offering primary medical care, and some dental care, this fall.

"I expect our team will be out here providing services by mid-August," she said. "Then we'll be building the new facility and will open in six to seven months."

As if that wasn't formidable enough, Traylor said Terry Reilly Health Services is finalizing plans to renovate a building near Latah Street and La Cassia Drive, near Monroe Elementary School on the Boise Bench.

"We've already turned in a grant application to bring that facility on line as early as January. We already own the building but we need to modernize it," said Traylor. "The future? We're renovating our Homedale facilities. We have two separate buildings for medical and dental. We need to make that one. That will happen next spring. After that? Who knows? I'm always asking myself, 'Am I doing what Rosie and Terry wanted when they started this journey?'"