DENISON, Texas (KXII) -- Reba McEntire is an Oklahoma native, with strong Texoma ties, but despite her many successes, she has never forgotten her roots.
The Texoma Health Foundation celebrated the 25th anniversary of Reba's Ranch House in Denison Friday, but to everyone's surprise, in walks Reba.
Reba had family members treated at Texoma Medical Center, and that's when she saw first-hand that patient's loved ones often needed a place to stay, for free.
"And so that's where it started, and I said 'Sure I'll help, I'll bring everybody I know to come down and have some fun and sing some songs,' " Reba said.
That was the late 1980s. She started having benefit concerts, and by 1992, they opened their first "Reba's Ranch House," and they've since replaced it with an updated version.
"Through the course of that time, 30,000 families going through their hard times, their darkest times, have been able to come here and find hope and comfort," Texoma Health Foundation Chair Brett Graham said.
And to celebrate the 25th anniversary, the foundation presented Reba Friday morning with a surprise of their own, to help tell Reba's story to ranch house guests.
"So we took a lot of the memorabilia from Reba's concerts that helped raise the money and we put them on a wall and it says 'The House that Reba Built,' and I encourage the public to come out and see it," Graham said.
Reba said she didn't want the celebration to be about her, instead she personally thanked first responders, including Sherman and Denison fire and police, as well as the sheriff's office and DPS, with a signed plaque.
"She's been very important to the community and has brought a lot to this area and her intentions were to recognize us, but its really to recognize her," Sherman Police Assistant Chief Stephen Dean said.
Reba went around and greeted each ranch house volunteer, both past and present, there as guests. She said it's because of them that this has all been possible.
"I'm thankful for this day, for the past 25 years, it's been a huge blessing to me and my family, my friends, and thanks for letting me be a part of it."