Reba's Ranch House celebrates 20 year anniversary Monday

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When Dr. Darius Maggi - a personal friend of Reba McEntire - suggested a way she could help out the local north Texas community, the wheels started turning.

The suggestion eventually led to the opening of Reba's Ranch House. The Ranch provides a place for out-of-town families to stay while their loved-ones are in the hospital.

Director Marilyn Bice said the Ranch first opened its doors on Sept. 24, 1992, and has helped thousands of families in those 20 years.

"The biggest quote that all [the families] have is talking about being able to escape the hospital," she said. "And being able to have some time to take a shower...have some time to get some sleep. Find something in the refrigerator."

Ron Ballou has worked at the Ranch for eight years. He started as a volunteer - and liked it so much he got a full time position.

"Being able to interact with different people, and people of different walks of life," he said. "And people that were really in need. I have a soft heart for people like that."

Reba provides financial and moral support for the Ranch, holding benefits and sending memorabilia, Bice said.

"We send her the letters that people write her while they're here," she said. "And she reads every one of them throughout the year."

"We really think a lot of Reba. And we appreciate that she's done this for all these people," Ballou said. "And this is a home away from home for people that have sick ones in the hospital."

The Ranch moved to a new building in 2010. The new place has four additional rooms - bringing the total to 12.

While the Ranch doesn't charge families to stay, Bice said many of the families give a donation as a thank you.

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