The History of Pee Dee Speech and Hearing Center
Pee Dee Speech and Hearing Center – Connecting Lives, Hearing and Speech
The House that Bob Hope Built
With the help of many wonderful volunteers, Pee Dee Speech and Hearing Center has served over 300,000 individuals over the past 50+ years. In 1968 the Center was established to assist those with speech-language and hearing problems. Within the confines of the Center was a very active pre-school for the hearing impaired as well as a full diagnostic audiology clinic and speech-language clinic. To this date we continue to provide these same services with the exception of the pre-school (the public schools and other government agencies have assumed this role). The Center has also added an outreach hearing conservation program designed to help prevent hearing loss due to excessive noise exposure.
Prior to 1978 the Center was located on McQueen Street in Florence in what was once a family home. In 1977 the work and generosity of many individuals came together to raise the necessary funds to build our current Center. With a donation of property from the city and under the guidance of then Executive Director Patricia J. Vincent, we were able to build and move into our Center on E. NB Baroody Street in 1978. Of note, in 1977, comedian Bob Hope came to Florence – an event warranting lots of press and interest from the media — to put on a show to raise funds for our Center. The event was held at Francis Marion and had many dignitaries in attendance including General William Westmoreland who served as the Master of Ceremonies. The 82nd Airborne band was the musical entertainment and Bob Hope put on a show that was enjoyed by all. The evening was so successful that 2/3rds of the funds needed to reach our building fund goal were raised in that one evening.
The Pee Dee Speech and Hearing Center continues to thrive and serve the Pee Dee region and beyond. Staffed by a well trained and experienced group of dedicated people who believe strongly that effective communication (speech and hearing) is an essential human need and, as such, a basic human right. Without it, no individual or community can exist or prosper.