Twice as Nice

PHOTO BY Molly Kendrick
PHOTO BY Molly Kendrick

Twice as Nice

Texarkana is known for being “Twice as Nice” because of our location on the state line between Texas and Arkansas. From our ability to be in two places at once, to a healthy cross-town rivalry, Texarkana’s character, in large part, comes from straddling these two great states. Ask the locals, “What makes Texarkana ‘Twice as Nice?’” and you will often hear, “the people!” Businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals contribute to this mentality by maintaining an inclusive, energetic and welcoming environment. Adding to Texarkana’s points of pride, local philanthropists and founders of Texarkana Emergency Center and Hospital, Dr. Matt and Cindy Young, have worked together in the medical field for over 20 years, ensuring Texarkana receives the best healthcare in the Four States area.

Dr. Young and Cindy recall the beginning of their story together like it was yesterday. Dr. Young was living in Texarkana mowing lawns before he left for medical school. One afternoon, following a full day of yard work, he ran into an old friend and struck up a conversation. He can’t recall what they talked about that day, but the one thing he remembered was her beautiful roommate, Cindy. For Dr. Young, it was love at first sight.

Dr. Young recalls, “I was determined to take her on a date.”

“He was definitely persistent! I think he asked me out five times and I kept saying, ‘No,’” said Cindy.

Luckily for Dr. Young, his friend, Dr. Don Tribbey, worked with Cindy at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital and advocated on his behalf. Cindy eventually agreed to a simple lunch date to keep things low pressure, and the rest is history.

“Matt picked me up for lunch on a Sunday afternoon,” Cindy said. “I was a little nervous when we pulled into a gas station and Matt got out of the car. He told me we were having a burrito and a Slurpee in the park because he did not have any money!” Luckily, Matt was joking and quickly jumped back into the car with a laugh. “We are all about a joke in my family,” Cindy said, “That’s when I thought I might give him a chance.” They had a nice lunch at a local restaurant in town. “Matt and I have been together ever since.”

Together, the Youngs have built a business inspired by the longtime passion of Dr. Young’s family for healthcare. Raised in Texarkana with nine siblings, Dr. Young attended St. James Day School, Highland Park Elementary, Pine Street Middle School and Texas High School. His dad practiced medicine independently and his mom was a Licensed Vocational Nurse, working with him in his office. Dr. Young’s parents never pushed their children into medicine. Many of their children went to college for business or finance, but in the end, seven ended up in the medical field and one became a vet.

Dr. Young’s family instilled in him a very realistic perception of medicine from a young age. “Our dad was on call 24/7, but my siblings and I saw him helping others,” Dr. Young said. “Medicine gave us a religious background, guiding us to understand that God is in control. I think it was the ministry of helping others that drove a lot of us into healthcare. It was just in our blood. It felt obvious.”

With his passion for helping others, Dr. Young felt drawn to emergency medicine. “No one plans to have an emergency. Being present for people who need help the most during their raw emotions is what I love most about practicing emergency medicine.”

Dr. Matt and Cindy Young on a Caribbean cruise in 2008

submitted photo

Dr. Young and Cindy moved to Texarkana in 1999, and Cindy planned to be a stay at home mom. Instead, in 2000, Dr. Young took over management of a contract at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital and Cindy became his practice manager. They recognized the need for a freestanding emergency room in Texarkana, so when the laws changed in Texas regarding these types of facilities, they began to brainstorm.

On Christmas Eve, 2014, Cindy received an unexpected Facebook message from Dr. Dallas Bailes. Dr. Bailes was interested in opening a freestanding emergency room in Texarkana and thought the Youngs were the right contact for the opportunity. The Youngs discussed their options, and by February 2015, the former bank building on Cowhorn Creek was under contract. Less than one year after Cindy opened Dr. Bailes’ Facebook message in November 2015, Texarkana Emergency Center opened for business. Cindy oversaw the construction and hiring, but she planned to be out of the business by December 2015. However, five years and one large expansion later, Cindy remains the visionary and CEO and Dr. Young continues to be the Chief Medical Officer.

This past year, the emergency center expanded to become a hospital in order to offer even more services to the Texarkana area. Texarkana Emergency Center and Hospital (TECH) celebrated its five-year anniversary in November 2020. TECH has become a well-known and respected,
free-standing emergency center and concierge micro-hospital. It is patient-focused and dedicated to providing high-quality service in a timely manner.

With the expansion, TECH added four inpatient beds, an MRI machine, a procedure room and a cafeteria. The focus of a concierge micro-hospital is to create an environment which makes patients and families feel comfortable. The facility features hotel-like furnishings, patient comforts such as plush robes and delicious food sourced from Julie’s Deli and other local restaurants.

While the amenities are state of the art, it’s the team that makes the real difference. Dr. Young commented, “We wouldn’t be the best emergency center and hospital in the four states area without our staff. This includes our administrative team, Brooke Marshall, Kendall Griffith and Amy Masco, and the x-ray technicians, medics, security officers, nurses and personnel at the front desk. Everyone on our team contributes to the success of our business.” Dr. Young practices alongside co-owners Dr. Erik Jacobson, Dr. Kyle Groom, Dr. Dean Bowman and Dr. Bo Kelley. TECH is also honored to have Dr. Shanna Spence, who routinely practices as part of the TECH family.

From billboards throughout Texarkana, to their sponsorships and attendance at local events, the vital presence of the TECH team is undeniable, but the impact made by the Youngs goes much further. Dr. Young serves as Texarkana’s Local Health Authority, working closely with CHRISTUS St. Michael and Wadley Hospitals, providing crucial guidance to local city officials, schools and the entire community throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Dr. Young is serving his 17th year as LifeNet’s Medical Director, and he also serves as Medical Director for the EMT program at Texarkana College.

Cindy has donated her resources in education, the arts and the Junior League of Texarkana. During her provisional year, she co-chaired the new member project, Shoes for the Soul, which still occurs twice a year. The Junior League of Texarkana works with local schools to identify children in need of shoes and clothes and invites them for a day of shopping at Target with Junior League members. This is a project that still holds a special place in her heart. “I grew up in a home where we had what we needed, but not all the luxuries,” Cindy said. “One time, when I was little, I broke my sandal and it was a big expense to buy a new pair of shoes outside of our normal budgeted time. I felt guilty for the expense. I knew this event was a big need after being in schools with my children, and it felt like it was something the Junior League provisional class could do. I know it has put thousands of shoes on our children in the community.”

PHOTO BY Molly Kendrick

The Youngs stay very busy most of the time, but when it is time for a little “R&R,” they enjoy visiting their sons in Dallas or taking their family to Albert Pike. Their oldest son, Logan (24), is finishing his graduate degree in finance at Southern Methodist University, and Garrett (20) is in his second year at the University of Dallas, playing basketball, with plans to pursue a career in the medical field.

When Dr. Young and Cindy look at each other, their love for one another radiates. Finishing each other’s sentences, it is obvious why they make one of Texarkana’s strongest teams. From emergency room patients, to a child in need of a new pair of shoes, the Youngs continue to make their mark on the lives of local people every day. They model for all of us how work ethic, compassion and teamwork can make an enormous impact in the lives of so many, and they help to solidify Texarkana as a place we can be proud to call “Twice as Nice.” 

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