In September of 1957, Dr. Jack T Bechtel and a small group of public spirited citizens of Brevard County, Florida, felt the need of a fund to provide help, on a loan basis, to cardiac patients in need of heart surgery who were unable to provide the funds for such medical attention. Through the early 60’s the organization worked with the County health department to fill the gap in medical services for poor and needy patients, and on October 26th, 1968, Brevard Heart Foundation sponsored the first pacemaker implant in Brevard Hospital (now Holmes Regional Medical Center).
The organization has evolved over the years, but has remained true to its mission:
to improve and promote healthcare for Brevard County citizens through programs that target identified community needs.
As health insurance became more readily available and the cost of medical equipment outpaced our ability to underwrite it, our attention turned to supporting the health of Brevard County in another way. Our focus became to help ensure that we had quality health care professionals by supporting them through their education. In the last 50 years, we have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct scholarship aid to individuals, many of whom have had long professional careers in medicine serving and taking care of our local citizens.
As an organization, we continue to evolve and adapt to meet our community’s needs. Our goal is not to simply provide a hand out to the needy, but rather to provide a “hand up” to deserving individuals that through education can both improve his or her station in life, better provide for a family, and do so while taking care of others. To that end, the foundation board elected to add transitional scholarships to the annual scholarship program.
This program will focus on helping the most needy in our community to get that “hand up” they need to break the cycle of poverty. Our goal will be to remove the traditional barriers that these individual face when trying to better themselves. Selected candidates will have full tuition and expenses paid to help them begin their careers in medicine. Our donors can be proud knowing that they are not just helping today, but are both helping to change the life path of our scholarship recipients, and ensuring that our local community has access to outstanding care.
For more information, visit our History.
To get involved, visit our Directors page.