Fifteen years ago, for a low-income person in need of health care, the tri-state area offered few options. With no health care services available to the uninsured, patients presented themselves to emergency rooms — the most expensive type of care, traveled great distances to get help or went without.

But a new option arose when Crescent Community Health Center opened in downtown Dubuque in 2006. Most local residents will never need its services. But for those who do, the center fills a void that has long impacted the entire community.

This center represents the difference between being a community that cares for its needy and one that does not.

In the 15 years since opening, Crescent Community Health Center in Dubuque has become a one-stop shop for medical, dental and mental health care and related services for a diverse group of area residents. Today, patients can receive medical, dental and brain health care all in one place, along with wellness and nutrition education or guidance in finding insurance.

Back in 2006, the visionary facility began with a staff of 16. Today its operation fills four floors of its renovated building at 1690 Elm Street and employs 120 people. Those who count on Crescent include minority and other underserved populations, regardless of whether they have health insurance, and a sliding scale is used to charge individuals without health insurance or who are low-income. In 2006, about 8% of Dubuque County residents had no insurance at all. The number has only grown.

Crescent Community Health Center is aptly named. It would not exist today were it not for two entities: the Schmid family (which owns Crescent Electric Supply Co.) and the community.

There are a great many projects philanthropists may choose to support. Major donors often have their names etched into the signs outside libraries, museums and college buildings. The Schmid family’s gift has done wonders for the quality of life in Dubuque and the tri-state area. An initial $1.3 million donation propelled the health center to completion.

Likewise, such a project does not take root without strong community support. Donations from businesses and individuals make this a true community effort. Support from a broad-based coalition of health-care providers shows just how great the need is. Continued support from strong and generous donors has allowed the health center to continue its growth and reach.

Crescent has filled a void in our community these past 15 years. Here’s to the efforts of many who made the vision a reality for the tri-state community and all those who carry its mission forward. Its impact will be felt for generations to come.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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