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Foundation Funds EMS Building in Texas

SAN ANGELO, Texas - During a medical emergency, getting on the road is a tedious affair for the Menard County Hospital District.

When an ambulance is dispatched, emergency medical service personnel must spend valuable time retrieving medical supplies from a separate facility.

But that process should get easier - and faster - in the coming year, thanks to the San Angelo Health Foundation.

The foundation, which works to enhance the quality of life for San Angelo-area residents, recently awarded the hospital district $139,928 for an EMS building - the largest chunk of the $268,327 to be distributed between six nonprofit groups.

The foundation's board convenes quarterly to decide which grant proposals should receive awards and how much of the foundation's $2.5 million annual budget to spend.

Since the foundation started issuing grants in 1997, it has distributed more than $40 million in San Angelo and the Concho Valley.

"With this grant we received today, it will complete our funding" for the building, said Janis Cordes, Menard County Hospital board president. About $20,000 was collected in private donations.

"We will be able to get started, and we are very pleased (with) the San Angelo Health Foundation."

The roughly 1,900-square-foot facility will serve as home base for EMS staff and have a climate-controlled garage for the district's two ambulances. The project is expected to cost about $200,000, Cordes said.

Currently EMS personnel are stationed on the top floor of Menard Nursing Home and must retrieve medical supplies from an air-conditioned facility. They then load one of two ambulances kept under a carport - not an ideal spot to protect the vehicles from the elements, Cordes said, especially heat.

Because the nearest hospital is in Eden and the closest trauma facility is in San Angelo, all acute and emergent patients are transported.

Ambulances are dispatched about 20 times per month, Cordes said.

Another nonprofit group looking to aid the masses with its foundation grant is the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council for the Concho Valley, which was awarded $15,780 for a feasibility study and facility improvements.

"That is a need that has been identified throughout the years. It has been a need since 1997 when the last indigent detox ceased to be due to the passing of its medical director," Sanchez said.

"Since then people in San Angelo have had to go out of the city, where the nearest is in Odessa. The one in Lubbock recently closed, so that Odessa detox has a long waiting list."

ADACCV receives approximately 400 inquiries annually about indigent detox services, Sanchez said.

"The ones who contact us are the ones who don't have insurance. The ones we encounter are the ones who don't have resources to access these crucial services. It can lead to death and unfortunately at times it does, especially if you're withdrawing from methamphetamines."

Following the feasibility study, which should be completed by year's end, ADACCV plans to build an 18,000-square-foot facility to house the detox program and others in a building behind its Houston Harte Expressway location.

The project would cost more than $3 million, and the group is soliciting donations, Sanchez said.

Other groups awarded were: East Coke County Hospital District, $20,000 to provide an electronic care charting system; Girl Scouts of Central Texas, $34,169 for improvements to the historic "Little House" on West Avenue A including roof repair, HVAC replacement and electrical upgrades; Fellowship of Christian Athletes, $30,000 for additional staff and operating funds; and West Texas Boys Ranch, $28,450 for capital improvements.


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