Torrance Memorial Medical Center has been committed to helping people live clean and sober lives since 1991. In 2003, Torrance Memorial expanded this program with the establishment of The Thelma McMillen Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment of Torrance Memorial Medical Center. The center honors the memory of Thelma McMillen and was funded by her husband Karl B. McMillen Jr. This greatly expanded program is made possible through McMillen's generous initial gift of $5.3 million and ongoing donations and support. The McMillen Family Foundation provides generous support to the Thelma McMillen Center, as well as to other programs in Southern California. To date, the Foundation has donated more than 10 million dollars in the assistance of chemical dependency programs.
Members of the South Bay community since 1954, the McMillens knew firsthand about the tragedy of chemical dependency, having lost their eldest son to a drug overdose in 1996. A volunteer for many years at the South Bay Free Clinic, Thelma saw firsthand the great need for chemical dependency treatment programs in the community. Karl is a successful, self-made businessman and owner of one of the largest plumbing supply wholesalers in the country. He is also a recovering alcoholic who has been sober since 1996.
When his wife of 48 years passed away, Karl wanted to pay tribute to her and give back to the community he has lived in and loved for over 50 years. Haunted by his own personal tragedy and convinced of the need for additional treatment options for those with substance abuse problems, Karl conducted considerable research on existing chemical dependency programs in the South Bay before selecting one to be the beneficiary of his gift in tribute to Thelma. Karl selected Torrance Memorial Medical Center as the recipient of his generosity because it allowed the hospital to expand on an already successful chemical dependency treatment program. A large part of the tribute involved the creation of a program to help adolescents troubled by drug and alcohol abuse - a dream fulfilled by the creation of the Thelma McMillen Teen Outpatient Program.
"With every teen that this program helps, we continue to realize the vision of our benefactor Karl McMillen, whose generosity made it all possible," said Moe Gelbart, Ph.D., executive director of the Thelma McMillen Center for Chemical Dependency Treatment.
The Thelma McMillen Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment of Torrance Memorial Medical Center represents a significant commitment toward the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse in the South Bay community. The facility reflects the unique character of the program, providing a true healing environment sensitive to the special needs of its patients. Located adjacent to the hospital at 3333 Skypark Drive, Suite 200, the Center has been extensively remodeled, providing 10,000 square feet of space filled with unique amenities such as:
- Private entrance and exit
- Library and reading room to provide valuable resources
- Exercise room to promote physical well-being
- Separate entrances, waiting and treatment areas for adults and adolescents
- Spacious conference rooms ideal for lectures, support groups