Anonymous donor provides challenge grant to complete TCC’s Physical Therapy Clinic

May 1, 2013

An anonymous donor has challenged the Tulsa community with a grant to complete the proposed Physical Therapy Clinic at Tulsa Community College’s Metro Campus and name the facility in honor of Nate Waters, pending approval by the TCC Board of Regents. The proposed Nate Waters Physical Therapy Clinic at TCC will carry out Waters’ passion of education and helping others. The anonymous donor has pledged $157,500 for a matching grant and issued a challenge to the Tulsa metro community and Nate’s friends, co-workers and associates to raise the remaining funds.

Waters, a TCC graduate who passed away April 20, 2013, benefitted from physical therapy services at TCC, inspired the Tulsa community through his story, and brought a higher level of awareness of individuals with disabilities and their needs. His spinal cord was severed at the age of 19. He was left a quadriplegic. Despite his paralysis, Waters got his GED and his associate degree from TCC and eventually his bachelor’s degree from OSU.

While he attended TCC, Waters worked with TCC staff and TCC’s Physical Therapist Assistant program. He slowly began to develop dexterity in his hand in order to use a pointer for the computer keyboard, then a roller ball, and eventually was able to write again. Waters became a community instructor through his work with the students in TCC’s Physical Therapist Assistant program and shared his experiences so students could learn about his disability and be better prepared to help others. Waters was a longtime advocate for the physically challenged, community volunteer and activist. The new Nate Waters Physical Therapy Clinic at 815 S. Cincinnati will help continue the work he did in facing tremendous challenges, overcoming obstacles and inspiring a community.

“This is about a very special man. Nate embodied service to others and led by humility and grace and this building ensures his legacy of helping others,” said Tulsa Community College Foundation Board Chair Mary Shaw. Shaw, who was a close friend of Waters, said, “He would never have expected this outpouring of love and support from the community and I hope Nate’s spirit lives on through this project.”

The Physical Therapy Clinic will be a resource for the community by providing physical therapy to patients in need as well as providing clinical learning opportunities for the students. With the new stand-alone facility, TCC will expand the services and increase patient capacity from the current 4 clients to 40 clients a week and impact services available for the uninsured and the disadvantaged in Tulsa. You can read more about the proposed Physical Therapy Clinic.

TCC launched the public fundraising campaign in 2012 for the nearly $2 million Physical Therapy Clinic. To date, TCC and private investors have contributed $1.6 million to the project with $877,000 raised from donors and a public investment of $768,000 to buy the land and building at 815 S. Cincinnati Ave. Major donors include St. Francis Health System, Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation, Founders of Doctors’ Hospital, Osteopathic Founders Foundation, Hille Foundation, Grace and Franklin Bernsen Foundation, and Suzanne Reese.

The TCC Foundation needs to raise $157,500 in private donations in order to qualify for the matching grant from the anonymous donor. Contributions can be made in Nate’s honor through TCC’s Foundation.