The story of Terry Reilly is one that is celebrated both locally and nationally. Terry Reilly – the organization- grew out of an idea and in response to a striking need to which many had turned a blind eye.
In the early 1970s, Nampa, Idaho was a small agricultural community that served as a hub for the larger Canyon and Owyhee County region. It was also a rural town with a large migrant and seasonal farmworker population who worked long hours in hazardous conditions tending to and harvesting the Treasure Valley’s agricultural commodities. Many of the farmworkers lived in sub-standard conditions and had no access to healthcare services.
Terry Reilly, an Idaho native, was sent to Nampa by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, to provide tutoring to children whose parents (and in many cases themselves) were farmworkers. Terry was a cosciencious objector to the Vietnam War and went to Nampa to tutor children as part of his consciencious objector service.
Shortly after establishing his tutoring program, Terry and his wife, Rosie Delgadillo Reilly, quickly realized that many of the children coming for tutoring were in need of access to medical care. Terry recruited Dr. Clarence McIntyre, a local pediatrician, to volunteer his services to care for the children. The first clinic was operated out of Terry & Rosie’s living room in north Nampa.
Demand for services grew quickly and a federal grant was awarded which allowed for the establishment of a formal organization – Community Health Clinics, Inc. The clinic moved from the Reilly’s house to the Square Deal Grocery Store building, a few blocks from their home.
Terry worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the need for access to quality healthcare in rural Idaho for both farmworkers and the broader community. Over the years, additional Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) grants were awarded to support the establishment of clinics in Homedale, Marsing and Parma (Parma was eventually closed in the 1980s).
In response to a need identified by medical providers within the clinics, the SANE Solutions (Sexual Abuse Now Ended) program was established. The program, now the largest of its kind in Idaho, is a treatment program for the victims and offenders of sexual and physical abuse.
Terry Reilly was eventually elected to the Idaho State Senate, representing Canyon County. In 1986 Terry decided to run for Lieutenant Governor of Idaho. Tragically, Terry was killed in a small plane crash in eastern Idaho while campaigning. Upon Terry’s death, the Board of Directors changed the name of the organization from Community Health Clinics, Inc. to Terry Reilly Health Services (now often abbreviated as Terry Reilly).
In 1988 the organization opened a clinic in Boise; originally designed to serve the homeless population, the clinic is now open to everyone. Eventually Terry Reilly also added clinics in Melba, Caldwell and Middleton. As the organization expanded, dental services and primary mental health care were also added to complement our quality medical services.
What started as an idea and in response to a need found in a small group of children in Nampa has grown today into a strong health system providing quality services to more than 30,000 persons annually.
You can read more about Terry Reilly, see photos and videos from our past, and listen to a corrido (Spanish language Ballad) Here.