By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
Philip McKinzie opened his eyes…and had no idea where he was. There he lay in a hospital bed, trying to get oriented. But his two daughters were there as Phil gradually learned he was coming out of a chemically-induced coma after 8 days.
What started as an annual check up for Phil’s heart stents turned into emergency open heart surgery. His daughters rushed in from Colorado and Frisco, Texas, and were the very first guests at Reba’s Ranch House’s new facility.
“My daughters told me they had stayed in the ranch house,” Phil recalls. “They told me what a delightful experience it was, and how grateful they were to be that close to the hospital. The people there are so gracious, and the community supports it so much with bringing in food.”
This wasn’t how Phil first learned about the ranch house, though. He was on the TMC Foundation board in the 1980s when the dream for the ranch house was born and was one of the founding board members of the Texoma Health Foundation when it was created in 2007.
Throughout the years, Phil continued his involvement with the ranch house and area hospitals. He’s held an interest in medicine from boyhood when he longed to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather and namesake, Philip Lee Cane. Dr. Cane started practicing medicine during the days of Indian Territory, settling in Albany (Oklahoma) in the 1870s. Dr. Cane retired in the 1940s at 85-years-old.
“He was the light of my life,” Phil says. “I loved that man, and I wanted to be a doctor.”
Though Phil ultimately went into banking, his interest in medicine continued. It led him to help recruit physicians for area hospitals, serve on the TMC Foundation board (which morphed into the Texoma Health Foundation), and help with the founding of Reba’s Ranch House.
Phil moved between Oklahoma and Texas throughout his life, and is now settled in the Celebration Senior Living of Denison, a stone’s throw from the ranch house.
“I told them if they cut a furrow through the woods and build a bridge over the creek, I could walk over there, because we’re that close,” he says.
Phil didn’t know that when the second facility was built in 2010, his two daughters would be its first guests as he recovered from open heart surgery in a nearby hospital.
After his recovery, Phil became a volunteer “heart mender” for six years, sitting with families whose loved one was undergoing open heart surgery. He would stay with them for hours, bringing coffee and giving the family updates on what was happening.
And he let them know it was okay to take a rest at their room in Reba’s Ranch House.
“We could call them if they were needed and they’d be right there,” he says. “It’s amazing what the Texoma Health Foundation has accomplished [with Reba’s Ranch House]. It’s indescribable.”