BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Hall Ambulance’s owner and founder, Harvey Hall, died almost three years ago, but he continues to support the community his ambulance company has served for exactly half a century. Yes, Hall Ambulance has turned 50 years old.
Hall’s widow, Lavonne Hall, administers the foundation named in his honor that has funded a number of community programs and projects.
To many, Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall was a larger than life figure, with his broad smile, memorable suits and outsized personality. Four terms he served as mayor — unprecedented in the city’s history. So when he left us very suddenly at age 77 on May 19, 2018, from a rare degenerative brain disease, we lost perhaps the city’s most recognizable character.
Hall didn’t live long enough to celebrate the 50th birthday of the ambulance company he founded in February 1971, but his wife of 29 years, Lavonne Hall, has made sure he’s part of the celebration.
“We’re very excited to be able to celebrate that milestone — although it’s bittersweet not having Harvey here,” Lavonne Hall said. “He was very excited immediately following the 45th anniversary. He immediately started planning for the 50th.”
Hall continues to serve the city where he was born and raised with the Harvey L. Hall charitable family foundation. Lavonne Hall administers the community focused charity.
“A lot of it is being able to continue and keep his name involved with organizations and events that he was adamant about, that he was passionate about,” she said.
One of the foundation’s priorities is the search for a cure for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or CJD, the illness that took his life. The foundation helps fund research.
“I’m very proud to have Harvey’s name associated with research that maybe someday will find a cure or a treatment or even a cause to CJD,” she said.
Harvey Hall saw some striking events during his 47 years at the helm, but nothing like the COVID-19 pandemic. What might he have thought about the way his people in those orange and blue vans have handled the outbreak?
“He would have been proud,” Lavonne Hall said. “The management team we have in place he trained. He taught them, and they have lived up to his standards and his expectations. So he would not have been surprised at all that they’re doing the job that they are.”
So Hall Ambulance celebrates 50 years without the man who made it all possible. The best thing the people at the company and the foundation can do is honor his legacy as best they can.
In other words, keep carrying on.