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Hall Ambulance celebrates 50 years in a muted ceremony

Hall Ambulance rang in its 50th anniversary in a ceremony just outside its headquarters Wednesday morning. There were balloons, the ceremonial unveiling of a new logo and keys to shiny new blue-and-orange ambulances handed out to standout staffers.

It was an appropriate celebration for the heralded ambulance company, a fixture in the community for half a century. Still, attendees couldn’t help but wonder how the larger-than-life late founder Harvey L. Hall might have done things a little differently, even in the midst of a pandemic.

“Mr. Hall is not here to say ‘Screw COVID, let’s have a party,’” said John Surface, chief operating officer. “Where’s the fireworks, right? That’s what we’d be doing.”

Lavonne Hall, Harvey’s wife and successor to the president/CEO position, said that hitting 50 years was a really big deal to him, so it’s hard that he wasn’t there to celebrate.

“This is a good day,” she said. “It’s very bittersweet, but it’s a good day.”

A lot of smaller companies like Hall Ambulance have been bought out up by larger ambulance companies over the years, according to Mark Corum, a spokesman for Hall Ambulance. So for a “mom and pop” company to last this long and continue growing represents an accomplishment.

“It’s always amazing to be able to celebrate a milestone and the fact that we’re still here,” Lavonne Hall said. “It’s a hard business climate, and the fact that we’ve survived and we’ve grown, that’s always a reason to celebrate.”

Hall said she was glad the company was able to continue its tradition of recognizing employees in a safe way, despite the pandemic. Everyone was decked out in their Hall-orange medical masks as she passed on keys to standout EMTs and paramedics. (Though only Hall herself was wearing her custom-designed cowboy boots with Hall ambulances on them.)

One of those employees honored was Shane Courtis, a paramedic who has been affiliated with the company for 20 years. He appreciates the camaraderie that the Hall family has built in its own ranks and with other first responders in the community, but he reserved some of his highest praise for the nurses he works with.

“A whole lot of love to the nurses around these ERs; it’s like one big family between EMS and nurses in these emergency rooms,” he said. “It’s great.”

Courtis said he was looking forward to having his crew hanging on to the new ambulance for at least a week before any other crew stepped foot in it. He takes pride in his work and keeping the ambulance units “high and tight.”

He said that’s the “Hall way.”

“Our stuff is a huge step, a leap, above everyone else,” Courtis said.

He pointed to the features in the ambulances: black boxes that can report back on how the drivers are handling the unit, exhaust fans that keep air circulated and doors that won’t budge in high winds, which are especially useful in some of the high desert and mountain communities where the ambulance service operates.

The four ambulances that were rolled out Wednesday were 531 through 534, a sign of just how long the service has been in the community. This year the company will put 5 million miles on the road.

The new ambulances have the new logo that hearkens back to the early days of Hall Ambulance. The 50th anniversary badge borrows its design from one of the first uniforms. There is an image of one of the first units alongside today’s newest version. Each ambulance also has a small ribbon with the phrase “Cure CJD,” a nod to Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, which claimed Harvey L. Hall’s life. But in big letters is also Hall’s motto “Care, Compassion & Community.”

“It’s important to us to be a part of our community,” Lavonne Hall said. “We’re not just doing a job, it’s our hometown.”