HARLINGEN — City officials from across Cameron County were on hand yesterday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the South Texas Emergency Care Foundation, the nonprofit which provides ambulance transport and emergency services to hundreds of thousands of area residents.
At the foundation’s facility near the airport on Loop 499, approximately 130 community leaders, first-responders and others gathered to acknowledge the contributions of STEC.
“On behalf of the residents of Harlingen and all of the other communities, let me say to every South Texas Emergency Care ambulance worker and volunteers and staff, how proud and grateful we are,” said Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell.
South Texas Emergency Care Foundation provides fixed-wing air and ground ambulance services and emergency medical services to Harlingen, La Feria, Palm Valley, Primera, Rio Hondo, Santa Rosa, San Benito and Combes, as well as unincorporated areas of Cameron County. The agency handles more than 25,000 calls annually.
“I also want to convey my appreciation to the Harlingen police and fire departments, you’ve been there with us,” said Bill Aston, executive director of STEC. “And they’ve assisted us and protected us in so many ways, as well as the police departments in all of the communities that we serve, and the fire departments help us tremendously, so thank you.”
Aston, who has served with STEC for more than three decades, said his organization’s sense of purpose and commitment to the communities it serves was fortified over the past few days.
“One only has to think back a few days when many of our citizens suffered and continue to suffer from the devastating flood we had,” Aston said. “The men and women of our emergency department ran nonstop throughout the night and the next day, rescuing people.”
“In many cases we had to send trucks to bring people out to the ambulances on the expressway, because we were unable to get the fleet down the frontage roads,” he added.
Following the ceremony, community leaders presented STEC officials and staff with a plaque commemorating 40 years of providing emergency services to cities, towns and rural areas in Cameron County.