The Wabash Valley Health Center has received a major boost in funding for its expansion/renovation project, and the donor is a familiar name and a generous community benefactor.

Don Moffitt, a Terre Haute native who achieved great success in the business world, has donated $100,000 toward the construction project, and he is hoping his donation will spur others to give, particularly during Giving Tuesday.

The health center broke ground Oct. 30 for a major renovation and expansion of its facility located at 1436 Locust St. The project, which carries a $4 million price-tag, involves a 3,700-square-foot expansion along with major interior and exterior facility/campus improvements.

Moffitt has corresponded with Charlie Welker, health center executive director, for about the past year and recently met with Welker and a few board members.

“They are a great group of men who help lead this organization’s programs in providing health and dental care for that part of the community” that has been left behind, Moffitt wrote in an email.

The Wabash Valley Health Center was originally St. Ann’s School, which Moffitt’s mother attended in the 1920s. Moffitt said he has watched St. Ann’s Clinic, and later WVHC, grow over the years and admires what its supporters have done for the community.

“They are currently in the midst of a building and expansion program and badly need funding,” Moffitt stated.

Moffitt, who grew up poor in Terre Haute, eventually become president and chairman of the board of CNF Inc. [formerly Consolidated Freightways], a multi-national transportation and logistics company. Through the years, he has donated to many other charitable causes in Terre Haute.

Welker said he was “momentarily speechless” upon learning of the donation, which will go directly to the construction project.

“To think he believes in us and what we’re doing and wants to be a part of helping us make this impact on the lives of those we care for, it’s truly overwhelming,” Welker said.

Interviewed at the health center, Welker said the project “is really progressing well,” both inside and with outdoor site work.

Outside, northeast of the facility, an asphalt parking lot that will be used by employees had been installed Tuesday, and work on a patient parking lot just north of the facility will soon take place. Foundation work also is underway at the new patient entrance on the building’s north side.

The project will mean improved parking, access and campus safety, Welker said.

Inside, demolition work has been completed on the lower level and new ductwork is being installed. The lower level will house information technology, billing, the quality department and the administrative team.

Later, the project calls for a 3,100 square-foot addition on the building’s west side. Once completed, it will house registration, additional waiting room capacity and navigators who help patients with health insurance enrollment.

Once administrative offices move from the main floor to the ground level, that vacated area will be gutted and the number of medical exam rooms expanded from the current 10 to 20 medical exam rooms.

The renovation/expansion project “expands our ability to create access to quality and affordable healthcare,” Welker said at the groundbreaking. The project should be near completion by December 2020.

The project also will mean improved patient privacy throughout the clinic and the addition of a denture lab.

Those who would like to donate to the Wabash Valley Health Center renovation/construction project can go to the following website:

The health center is participating in #Giving Tuesday, a movement to create an international day of charitable giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season.

The Wabash Valley Health Center received a New Access Point Federal grant in 2013, which began the transition from operating for more than 16 years as a free clinic to functioning as a Federally Qualified Health Center.

It now serves all ages and accepts most insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare. A sliding fee scale discount is available for those that qualify.

Moffitt also has donated $50,000 to the Maple Avenue United Methodist Church child care center; Moffitt’s father once worked as a janitor at the church. Funds will be used for program improvements, activities and updated technology for children, particularly in the before- and after-school program, said Sarah Dyer, director of the church child care program.

Moffitt has donated to the church and its programs before.

In an email to the Tribune-Star, Moffitt explained why he so generously donates to Terre Haute charitable causes and organizations, particularly those serving the needy.

Moffitt clearly remembers an incident that changed his life when he was a young boy; it happened at his Sunday school class at the Maple Avenue church.

“I was 9 years old and wearing the clothes which had been donated to my family by the church — the only clothes in fact that I owned. An older boy began laughing at me while pointing out to the class that I was wearing the clothes he had thrown away. Another boy laughingly offered me his shoes and another offered his underwear. I left the room crying and never went to Sunday school again.

“But instead of making me angry, the scene gave me a strong drive to succeed, and to always be the one to help others, instead of the one being helped. That rude boy had done me a great favor.”

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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