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Old 05-20-2019, 04:13 PM
Paul Steinberg Paul Steinberg is offline
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Default Remembering Harvey Hall

It is a year ago that Harvey passed away, and today I re-read his obituary. He was a remarkable person and well liked by all. I have reprinted his obituary below for those who are not familiar with Mr. Hall.

Harvey L. Hall
January 5, 1941 - May 19, 2018

Harvey L. Hall, a pioneer of modern EMS in California and who fostered the concept of "Unity in Our Community" as Bakersfield's 25th (and longest-serving) Mayor passed away on May 19 surrounded by his family and three dogs by his side. He was 77.

Hall dedicated a lifetime of benevolence to the city he adores and its people through his philanthropy and dedication as a servant of humanity.

Harvey L. Hall was born in Los Angeles on January 5, 1941, at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. Adopted at birth by Clarence Eugene "Pete" and Cecil Hall, he attended Lowell and Longfellow Elementary Schools, Washington and Golden State Jr. High Schools, Bakersfield High School, Bakersfield Jr. College, and San Francisco City College.

A dare to go on a ride-along in 1960 piqued his interest in becoming an ambulance driver and sparked what would culminate in a 58-year career of caring for those in need.

With a vision to build the best ambulance company in America, on February 10, 1971, with a $15,000 bank loan, two ambulances, and his residence serving as headquarters, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. began answering the call. He worked tirelessly to build relationships within the medical community and with his patients, who he preferred to call his customers. His reputation for providing five-star ambulance service resulted in surrounding communities approaching Hall to bring the ambulance company bearing his namesake to their community. His first expansion was to Arvin (March 1975), followed by Lamont (June 1976), Frazier Park (July 1978), Tehachapi (October 1979) Mojave, Rosamond, California City and Boron (May 1994), Taft (March 1995), and Shafter (March 1999). In July 1999, his Company became the sole ambulance provider in the Bakersfield Metropolitan area. His final expansion occurred in April 2014 when Hall Ambulance began providing service to Wasco-resulting in Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. serving 88% of Kern County's population as their exclusive 9-1-1 paramedic provider. His community pride was readily apparent, with the names of each city/community reflected on the sides of his ambulances.

Hall introduced the first mobile intensive care paramedic program in Kern County in May 1975, dramatically elevating the level of medical care that could be provided in the field. Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. was selected as one of the top three ALS providers in the nation by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) in 1990 and the following year was honored as the U.S. Paramedic EMS Service of the Year.

Deciding to put his Company to the test, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. received a "perfect score" and full accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services in July 2004.

He believed in investing in his employees and developing a workforce of EMTs and paramedics that would carry forward his foundation for success, known as the Hall Way. In 2001, the Hall EMT Academy accepted its first individuals wanting to start their career in EMS. Hall routinely sponsored those EMTs ready to take the next step, putting them in to the Paramedic Program at Bakersfield College.

In 1999, he developed the Harvey L. Hall/Hall Ambulance Medical Scholarship made available to graduating seniors interested in pursuing an education in healthcare. Since its inception, a total of $70,000 in financial assistance has been award to 280 students.

In December 2001, Hall elevated the care provided by his paramedics to a higher level by launching Hall Air Ambulance. Eight years later, he ushered in a new era of specialized medical transportation with the creation of Hall Critical Care Transport, providing both ground and air, regional, interfacility transport solutions.

Concerned about children being nervous when being taken to the hospital, Hall created a cuddle toy called Siren the Rescue Dog that was named after one of his and Lavonne's St. Bernard's. Soon after, he introduced a bigger than life version that has become popular at community events across Kern County.

In October 2015, Hall Ambulance's Communications Division assumed the responsibility of dispatching 100% of all medical aid requests for ambulance service in Kern County.

Hall was a longtime member of both the California Ambulance Association and the American Ambulance Association where he was revered as an industry leader dedicated to improving the profession.

In 2015, Hall championed the cause to find solutions to the growing gap between the cost to provide safety net ambulance services to California's most vulnerable residents and the reimbursement for services paid by Medi-Cal by founding the 911 Ambulance Provider's Medi-Cal Alliance-which included American Medical Response, American Ambulance (Fresno), Care Ambulance Service, Hall Ambulance Service, Inc., Rural/Metro, and Paramedics Plus. The Alliance successfully completed its objective just two years later.

Throughout his career, Hall enjoyed developing a personal connection with the communities his Company serves-contributing his time and personal resources serving as honorary board member of the Bakersfield Police Activities League (2000 - 2018); Kern County Homeless Collaborative steering committee (2008-2018); Boys and Girls Club of Bakersfield (1990-2004, president 1997-1999); Area 3 Trustee for the Kern Community College District (1996-2000); Bakersfield College Foundation Board Member (1994-2000); Downtown Business Association, Board Member (1992-2000); Kern County Law Enforcement Foundation, President and Board Member (1990-2000); 15th District Agricultural Association, Director (1998-2001); MARE Advisory Board (1997-2002), and Kern County Network for Children, Trustee (1995-2002).

For 15 years, Hall served as the coordinator of the Bakersfield Christmas Parade, earning him the moniker Mr. Christmas. His love of the season was reflected in his extensive collection of Santa Claus memorabilia and Christmas decorations which were used to transform the Company's downtown campus over each Thanksgiving holiday weekend, into a winter wonderland.

He was a major benefactor of the Lights & Sirens Invitational benefiting local burn survivors and their families. In 2013, the tournament was renamed in his honor in appreciation of his longtime support to both the Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation and the Kern County Firefighters Burn Survivors Trust.

On March 30, 1999, Hall announced his candidacy for mayor on the steps of Centennial Plaza. His message of "Unity in Our Community" was embraced by voters, resulting in his winning the March 2000 Primary with 62% of the vote.

During his tenure, he was eager to help recognize the accomplishments, celebrations, and pride of Bakersfield's diverse population, presenting 1,836 Proclamations and 10,750 Certificates of Appreciation. He performed 958 ribbon cuttings with his custom-made oversized scissors and led 91 groundbreakings. He delivered 981 speeches, extended 469 welcomes and hosted 452 foreign visitors, and participated in 64 military events. He looked forward to participating in the annual Read Across America event-reading 166 books to school children often dressed as the Cat in the Hat.

In 2008, President George W. Bush called upon Hall to develop a plan to end homelessness in our community. Hall introduced Home First: Kern County's Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, bringing together a coalition of organizations to tackle this challenging issue.

Concerned about the cleanliness and the first impression of motorists traveling through Bakersfield, he started the Mayor Hall Freeway Litter Clean-up, where for thirteen-years he personally led residents early on Saturday mornings as they picked up litter along the on and off ramps running through our city. He was instrumental in creating the city's Keep Bakersfield Beautiful Committee and spearheaded the local Great American Cleanup. His passion for these endeavors led to him being honored as an Iron Eyes Cody recipient by Keep America Beautiful. Hall continued on his crusade even after his time as mayor ended through his support of the Downtown Bakersfield Street Ambassadors program. His humanitarianism stretched across our borders by fostering sister city relationships between Bakersfield and Queretaro, Mexico; Bucheon, Republic of Korea; and Amritsar, India.

This quiet philanthropist gave of his time and personal resources to assist countless individuals whose plight he would learn about through local media reports; as well as, local non-profits and organizations. He enjoyed mentoring and inspiring Bakersfield's youth, which included donating his entire mayor's salary to create the Mayor Hall Scholarship Fund-awarding $253,000 in financial aid to 297 local students.

On May 19, 2017, California State University, Bakersfield awarded Hall an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for distinction in his chosen field of endeavor, widely recognized eminence, and demonstrated values consistent with those of higher education.

On his birthday, in January, Mayor Hall was inducted into the City of Bakersfield's Hall of Fame, located on the concourse of the Rabobank Arena.

Outside of his very public life, Hall cherished time spent with his wife of 28-years Lavonne, their daughter Amy, granddaughter Skyler Blair, and mother-in-law Libby Allen. As a family, they enjoyed spending time on California's Central Coast, the cold weather and big sky of Jackson Hole, Wyoming; being avid supporters of the CSU Bakersfield 'Runners Basketball programs, attending Centennial Women's Basketball games where their daughter is the head coach, and going to Skyler's softball games and art events.

The Hall Family would like to express their deepest appreciation to Isabel Quintana, long time family caregiver; Optimal Hospice Nurses Julie, Rea, and Ahnawake; Alternative Care caregivers Pat, Maria, and Jessica; Hall Ambulance Paramedic Jennifer Att, EMT Scott Walters; the Hall Critical Care Transport team of Myron Smith, Chris Leone, and Les Hutchison; Hall Ambulance Medical Director Ron Ostrom, M.D., and the 471 Hall Ambulance Paramedics, EMTs, Dispatchers, and support personnel for their commitment to continuing to answer the call during this difficult time.

Additional relatives include Shelley and Brent Brown, Adrian Goldsberry, Susan Peninger, and Cynthia Brown.

A Community Celebration Honoring the Life of Harvey L. Hall is scheduled for Saturday, June 2 at 10 a.m. at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.

In lieu of flowers, the Hall Family suggests a donation to one of the following non-profits in honor of Harvey L. Hall: CSUB Athletics Roadrunner Scholarship Fund, the Bakersfield Homeless Center, and Centennial High School Women's Basketball.

Published in Bakersfield Californian on May 27, 2018
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