The East Texas Treatment Center began as a dream over a half century ago… the dream of a small group of concerned citizens who wanted to better the East Texas community by making physical therapy available for those individuals suffering from cerebral palsy and other physical handicaps. It began with the love of a father, Reverend Eugene Harris, whose small daughter, Caren Jean Harris, was stricken with cerebral palsy. Thus through the love and devotion of Reverend Harris, the Gregg County Treatment Center for the Physically Handicapped was born. Operating in a small house in Longview in 1950, the Center quickly outgrew its small quarters and moved to Kilgore in 1952 when Mayor Roy H. Laird donated a larger home for use. Again, the Center grew and as a result, a building campaign was initiated in 1960, culminating into the present-day, 15,000 square foot building which opened in 1962.
With the growth came name changes… from the Gregg County Treatment Center for the Physically Handicapped in 1950 to the East Texas Treatment Center for the Physically Handicapped in 1954, then to the East Texas Treatment Center in 1979. In addition, services have expanded over the years to include not just physical therapy, but occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, audiology services (including testing and hearing aid fitting and repair), cardiac rehabilitation, neuropsychology services, social services, orthotic and prosthetic services, hippotherapy, and Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program classes.
Since its inception, the Center has been a leader in the delivery of outpatient rehabilitation services in East Texas. In the late sixties, with the construction of the Kane-Wylie Greenhouse Building, patients were able to incorporate gardening activities into their therapy programs. Then in 1981, under the leadership of Dr. Robert Echols, the first cardiac rehabilitation program in East Texas was begun. During the mid 1990’s the Center utilized a multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment of head injuries when the Closed Head Injury Program was developed. Also during this time, in conjunction with Windridge Equestrian Center, hippotherapy became available as a treatment option.
Today the center still leads the region as one of the most comprehensive rehabilitation clinics in East Texas. We are proud to offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, industrial rehabilitation and occupational testing.
We continue the mission of ETTC to provide services to those who qualify for our sponsorship program through our various fundraisers and donations. Our fundraisers include the East Texas Oilmen’s Golf Tournament, the East Texas Oilmen’s Chili Cook-off, and East Texas Giving Day. Your contributions enable us to offer much needed services to those in need.