All it took was one visit to the Midland Children’s Rehabilitation Center, and nationally recognized comedian Bill Engvall was calling the clients “my kids.” He wants to see the best possible services provided for “my kids” so they can learn to walk and run and be like other kids.
He knows it can’t happen without some help, and that’s where he is sharing his talents. Based in southern California, Engvall returns to Midland periodically for fundraisers, including golf tournaments and comedy concerts, to support MCRC.
He and his wife, Gail, were looking for a way to “give back” some of the blessings which they have received over his quarter century as a comedian. Gail recalled a place where she had worked as a physical therapy aide the summer after her freshman year in college – the Midland Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Midland, where her family was living. Executive director at that time was Jim Crawford. “How can you not fall in love with Jim Crawford and the kids,” she told her husband. “My mom (Dorise Watson) volunteers there today with the hippotherapy.”
Her enthusiasm aroused Bill’s interest and the couple was soon on the phone to Executive Director Brooke Mueller. “I am inundated with people wanting me to donate my time to their charity. The MCRC was different,” Bill said. “They did not try to sell me on their work. They let me walk around and just watch what they do. I was blown away. It was very exciting to me to see the progress these kids make with the caring staff that works hand in hand with them.
“Since that day, Gail and I have been working with them to raise not only money, but awareness of the center.”
The Engvall’s were drawn to an organization that combined their love of children and horses. The parents of two children, they never forgot when their daughter needed surgery as a youngster. “We were poor as church mice and had to rely on social services for help,” he said. They also have owned horses and hooked immediately on the Center’s hipppotherapy program and its importance with the clients.
“I met the kids and I was just a sucker for them. At the Center, I can see where my money is going. My dream is for the Center to be a place that wouldn’t hurt for money and that is totally up to date with the latest equipment. I want to make people through all of West Texas aware of the Midland Children’s Rehabilitation Center.
“All my kids want is to be able to run and play. They want to be able to have a normal life.”
Bill and Gail Engvall
You may know him as America's favorite comedian, but around here he's our hero!
Hanging out with kids before golf.
Bill at preview party before first concert in 2001
Changing lives...one step at a time.
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Midland Children's Rehabilitation Center 802 Ventura Midland, TX 79705 432.498.2053