The FMH Foundation was established in 2011 by Big Spring native and philanthropist, Florence Marie Hall. Miss Hall set forth specific goals and areas of focus for the Foundation. One of the areas of focus is healthcare and one of the special interests within healthcare is in helping those with limited access to quality of care or the resources, tools, or knowledge to support better health. For this reason, the FMH Foundation is especially interested in healthcare needs in the rural communities of West Texas.
One such need has created a partnership with the Jeff Davis County Ambulance Service in Fort Davis. This agency was started as an extension of the Jeff Davis County Volunteer Fire Department in 1991, sharing office space and vehicle bays. They operate under the Jeff Davis County governmental authority and receive funding from the county. The agency provides on-scene presence at fire events throughout the region as well as well as providing medical aid for residents in Jeff Davis, Presidio, Brewster, and Reeves counties. FMH Foundation became aware of the need for a new ambulance for the agency in 2017. Following the Foundation’s support of a new ambulance, the partnership between Jeff Davis County Ambulance Service and the FMH Foundation led to additional needs being addressed.
In 2018, the ability to provide ongoing educational training for the volunteers locally proved difficult because the agency lacked the proper tools and equipment needed for the training. The FMH Foundation was able to provide funding for high-tech medical simulators that allowed for on-going training on-site.
In 2019, the need for local EMS training and certification became apparent. Local volunteers couldn’t travel for lengthy training and, therefore, couldn’t get certified leaving the agency with a shortage of trained EMT’s. Through a grant with the Foundation, an Emergency Management Technician Certification Program was brought to Ft. Davis to allow local volunteers the opportunity to get trained and certified which, in turn, added additional trained volunteers to the agency.
In 2020, following two years of devastating fires in the Big Bend region, the need for a bunkhouse was evident. During the big fires, personnel from other areas were brought in to assist in the fire-fighting efforts but the only accommodations that could be offered were hotels (for which Jeff Davis County had to foot the bill). Having a bunkhouse would allow Jeff Davis County to bring in outside emergency personnel and provide them with lodging and other amenities such as a kitchen at no additional cost to the county. The FMH Foundation is currently working with Jeff Davis County Ambulance Service to begin building the bunkhouse.
The partnership between the FMH Foundation and the Jeff Davis County Ambulance Service is one example of the commitment the Foundation has made to meeting the healthcare needs of rural West Texas and furthering the mission of its founder.