On Scene Support was founded in 1996 by Arthur Hoops. He was an EMT in South Eddy County (Carlsbad) New Mexico before retiring to the Sacramento mountains and the small town of Ruidoso.
While in Carlsbad, Arthur found that firefighters and other first responders needed some form of hydration when on long emergency calls. He would have his wife go to the local store to buy cases of bottled water to fill that need. Upon moving to Ruidoso, he became a volunteer firefighter for the area, and saw the same need here. He set up a response network through his church, Gateway Christian, to handle the need. From that time, until 2008, the program called Gateway Disaster Relief Team in Ruidoso was funded through private church donations.
In 2008, the name changed to Sierra Disaster Relief Team, and was no longer sponsored through the church. Donations and volunteers were sought for continuing the efforts.
In 2010, for simplicity, and to encompass a larger scope, the name On Scene Support was coined. Arthur Hoops continued to provide hydration and nourishment to the local area fire departments who keep our county safe, and their motto "a fireman's friend" has since expanded to include all those involved in major incidents.
During the Little Bear Fire of 2012, it became apparent that the scope of On Scene Support's vision was too limited. The area had not seen a major catastrophe of this magnitude since 1947 and the famed Capitan Gap fire where Smokey Bear was rescued. The magnitude of this event eventually brought in Federal resources.
On Scene Support assisted with delivering ongoing supplies: blankets, dry and clean socks, personal hygiene kits and provisions, which continued to be gathered for the first responders and the National Guard, who base-camped in our region for several weeks.
Mike Myers, a former volunteer with Ruidoso's Fire Department Auxiliary, met Arthur Hoops in 2013. They teemed their ideas, and they worked together to provide the on scene support so needed in our region. Mike, a generous, humble helper, took over On Scene Support officially in 2017 after Arthur's 21 selfless years.
On Scene Support's first goal was to acquire a decommissioned ambulance to be used as an R&R unit for First Responders. This was achieved through a generous donation by Valentina Mayz of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The unit needed some repairs and updating, including a new engine, to meet the needs of our First Responders. This included decaling, changes in the lights and several other small details, so that it would not be mistaken for an emergency vehicle. Those changes have now been completed and OSS is now looking forward to the Dedication to be held at First Christian Church in Ruidoso on September 11, 2021 (9/11). A most fitting time to remember not only those who have fallen but also those who put their lives on the line each and every day. Mike & Lynn Myers thought that the need for this unit was so great that they took out a personal loan so that the R&R unit could be up and running ASAP and hoping that the community would also see the need and support their efforts.
In addition to the R&R unit OSS is working on getting privacy screens to be used a fatality incidents. This would show the victim respect while giving the First Responders the area need to complete their duties. It would also keep prying eyes from seeking instant fame from social media at the expense of the families involved.
Most importantly, "We also need more volunteers!" as indicated by Lynn Myers in a recent interview.
The future goals for On Scene Support is to become state-wide, with the local Lincoln County On Scene Support as a program prototype. "We've already had interest from Otero and Chaves counties," remarked Lynn, "research shows this program is best suited for the rural areas of our state, and we have a lot of them."
Like many small businesses OSS was affected by the pandemic of 2020 and due to it suspended all requests for donations. Partly because of the feeling that each and every family needed to pay closer attention to their own needs. OSS choose to rely on the reserve funds and those donated and loaned by the director and his family. The annual expenses for replenishing supplies is growing. When OSS was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2017 they spent over $5,000 for supplies and other expenses. In 2018, that costs grew to exceeded $8,000, due in part to the increased incidences through out Lincoln County. By 2020 those expenses doubled what was needed just three years ago. Now with the cost increases and lack of availability of supplies we expect our costs to go even higher.
What OSS provides is not covered in the county fiscal budget. This is why we need you! Please help us, help them, so they can do their best when it comes to helping YOU.