More than 50 dignitaries, business people and concerned citizens turned out Monday to cut the ribbon on the new Helen Ross McNabb Center facility near Five Points in Maryville.
With 40 employees who are working at the center to serve clients from throughout the community, the new facility will be a busy place. For Helen Ross McNabb Center’s vice president of operations, Jerry Vagnier, the great thing about the building is that it is paid for.
“The community has been very kind. We were able to raise $1.5 million so that when we moved in four weeks ago, we owed nothing on the building,” Vagnier said. “That is amazing for any non-profit, especially in this economy. It is a real benefit.”
Chairman of the board Ted Flickinger said before cutting the ribbon that the new building was made possible by community support.
Flickinger said the building represents how important Helen Ross McNabb is to the community. “To grow to need this tells you how vital this is to the community,” he said of Blount County.
Flickinger said $745,000 was raised to support the ChildNet/Bridges program and $1.1 million was raised to cover the cost of the building. “All the support for this building and for the programs was raised in the county for this county,” he said.
Vagnier said this opening was the end of a five-year journey. “It really started when United Way of Blount County identified target issues where help was needed in Blount County,” he said. “We were already delivering services here, and we wanted to expand services. Our desire was to have a permanent home in this community.”
Vagnier said they were fortunate the Blount County Commission initially gave them property at the Blount County Children’s Home site. “Unfortunately, that property was unfit to build on, and our journey brought us to this location,” he said.
Vagnier said Helen Ross McNabb Center provides psychiatric and counseling services and assessment services for children and adults.
“Last year, we served just shy of 1,100 distinct individuals in Blount County,” he said. “Blount County is the second most serviced area for Helen Ross McNabb Center.”
CEO Andy Black said 40 employees will work at the new facility. “We could not be more excited about this beautiful building you see and what is going to be happening inside this building,” he said. “This building will give people the opportunity to get better.”
Bryan Daniels, president and CEO of the Blount County Chamber and the Blount Partnership, said the Helen Ross McNabb Center is a new resource for Blount County. “It’s a real testament to the community for supporting a resource like Helen Ross McNabb,” he said. “We’re truly honored for them to be here and look forward to more years ahead.”
Sharon Hannum said the Helen Ross McNabb Center is important to residents throughout East Tennessee. “Having a building with services so close to us, I was so excited,” she said. “Most people had no idea the services Helen Ross McNabb offers.”
Bill Kilgore, president of the Boys and Girls Club of Blount County, said the new facility is very important to Blount County. “We depend on them for support,” he said. “They’re a major outreach for our kids and parents.”
Carl VanHoozier with Vulcan Materials said he appreciates the fact that Helen Ross McNabb helps those who can not help themselves receive the treatment they need.
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell said, “I think what Helen Ross McNabb does is give Blount County a tremendous resource,” he said. “They’re an asset to Blount County.”