Retired Texas FF-EMT starts nonprofit to help injured first responders
The Hurt and Fall Foundation is a nonprofit organization geared towards helping first responders care and maintain their property after suffering injury or death
By News Staff
ALEDO, Texas — A retired first responder created a nonprofit organization to help injured first responders and their families with landscaping needs.
Retired Firefighter-EMT Dan Pennington and his wife Jessica Pennington started the Hurt and Fall Foundation after Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce was shot six times in March 2016, The Weatherford Democrat reported.
“Dan came to me and said he was going to reach out to the Fort Worth Police Department to see if anybody was mowing [Pearce’s] yard because that was something we could do,” Jessica said. “He found the right channels and spoke with Matt’s wife, who said they were already receiving fines from their [Homeowners Association] for not having their yard mowed even though they knew the situation.”
In addition to landscaping assistance, the foundation also provides house maintenance and upkeep, and other needs.
"Through the process, we've started seeing that families need other things – we've built a wheelchair ramp, and there are sometime air conditioning or roofing needs – so that's where we're wanting to take it. Eventually I want it to be anything that the typical spouse would take care of," Dan said. "A lot of nonprofits will help financially, and so we're kind of the hands and feet. We've had some great support through other nonprofits and we're still in the baby stages of this, so it's been great to have that support from other ones that wanted to help."
The organization also benefits EMS providers, which is unusual according to Macara Trusty, a board member with MedStar in Fort Worth.
"Interestingly enough, EMS is kind of the stepchild of the group when it comes to police, fire and EMS. There's not a lot of funding, so when there are bills passed for line of duty deaths and stuff, EMS is often left out of those – mainly because there's an assumption that EMS is part of a fire department, and that's not true," Trusty said. "So, when Dan made sure that he wanted to include EMS, that was huge because we're not often included. There's about 62,000 EMS providers in the state of Texas, so to finally start to be included in stuff like this is a big deal."
The program currently benefits Parker and Tarrant counties in Texas, but the duo hopes to expand the benefits to other counties in the state.