Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates is in the business of helping people. With locations in Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma, Tumwater and Yelm, Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates (FASA) have quite the local footprint (ahem…) in the realm of podiatry. Yet as successful as they have been in their business, the drive to help others goes far beyond the Pacific Northwest. They have gone to Nicaragua, Haiti, Guatemala and even Africa. This year, however, FASA has set their sights on helping their fellow Americans in Puerto Rico.
FASA has been no stranger to public service within their own community. In what they call their “12 Months of Giving,” FASA plans to do some form of community service every month of every year.
“It is an amazing feeling to work for a company that is so passionate about giving back to those in need,” says Shelby Carter, Marketing Director for FASA. In the past they have done things such as planting trees, sending Valentines to active duty military and veterans at home, and serving food at local food banks. Lately, this sense of giving back goes beyond the Pacific Northwest. Both doctors and staff alike have traveled abroad to assist in any way they can. “It is one of Dr. Hess’s (the practice owner) goals to make these trips a yearly thing for Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates,” explains Carter.
This year, however, Puerto Rico seemed like the best place to travel. In September 2017, Puerto Rico was hit with Hurricane Maria, the worst natural disaster on record for the island. Many homes and most of the infrastructure were essentially destroyed. Following the storm’s wake, the folks at FASA felt they had to do something. “When we saw the devastating impact Hurricane Maria had on the island of Puerto Rico, we immediately wanted to help,” says Carter. “It was within that month we began organizing our relief efforts. We also wanted to have the opportunity to involve all staff members, not just staff with a medical background. We will have receptionists, medical assistants, managers and doctors all helping to rebuild.”
A team of 15 doctors and staff, as well as a few of their family members and friends, plan to head to Puerto Rico in mid-September of 2018, a full year after Hurricane Maria. “This year is different from others because it has been offered for all interested staff to have the opportunity to attend,” says Carter. “We feel extremely blessed to have such an abundance of staff members wanting to join together and assist those in need.”
Tumwater Lead Julie Cobb is one of the 15 members heading to Puerto Rico in September. She shares Carter’s enthusiasm. “These experiences are a benefit to those we help and to those that do the helping,” Cobb says. “I am excited to be a part of the Puerto Rico trip. I got involved because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and experience something new. It is an opportunity for challenges that will strengthen our team. I am looking forward to helping in any way that I can.”
Judging from the success of past trips, Shelby Carter is excited to see what kind of impact FASA will have on Puerto Rico’s rebuilding efforts. “I have heard so many wonderful things from those that have been on mission trips in the past,” she says, “and I am really looking forward to seeing the impact this trip has made on the doctors and staff members that are attending.”
In the meantime, however, there is much work to be done. “We will be working together to raise funds, plan and work together to get as much done as we can during our time there,” explains Carter.
And if that wasn’t enough, they are already starting to plan another trip in a currently undisclosed location during the early part of 2019.
For a company that prides itself on helping rebuild the human body, Foot & Ankle Associates has taken it a step further in helping rebuild lives. Shelby Carter simply thinks it’s engrained in their culture. “We just think it’s important for our practice to give back to those in need.”