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After nearly 30 years of providing refurbished medical equipment to South Texas, Project MEND held its grand opening for a new 15,000-square-foot headquarters and fulfillment center.

Board members and Project MEND staff welcomed clients, key donors and community members to the new facility. Speakers at the event included University Health President and CEO George B. Hernandez Jr., District 7 City Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, Kronkosky Charitable Foundation Deputy Managing Director Shantel Wilkins and Harvey E. Najim.

Najim is not only the founder of the Harvey E. Najim Charitable Foundation but also one of the largest donors to Project MEND’s capital campaign. The new headquarters and fulfillment center bear his name. The grand opening event included guided tours of the new headquarters, entertainment from Fort Sam’s Own 323d Army Band and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to signify the official opening of Project MEND’s permanent home. The facility is located near the South Texas Medical Center and represents a nearly $4 million investment in the community and those served by Project MEND. The new headquarters, designed by architectural firm Overland Partners, is the second-largest medical equipment reuse facility in the United States and the largest in Texas.

To complete the new headquarters, Project MEND enlisted the community’s help through the organization’s first capital campaign. Donors include the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, the JE & LE Mabee Foundation, Kym’s Angels (Kym Rapier Verette and Glenn Verette), Tres Grace Family Foundation, the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, Nancy Smith Hurd Foundation, Mays Family Foundation, Greehey Family Foundation, Valero Energy Foundation, Impact San Antonio, Meadows Foundation and the Harvey E. Najim Charitable Foundation.

Now Project MEND has a place for both its warehouse and administrative staff to carry out the vital work of providing refurbished medical equipment to individuals living with disabilities and life-altering illnesses under one roof. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization was able to complete the construction of the new headquarters and fulfillment center in a little more than a year and begin operations at the beginning of 2022.

Before this new headquarters and fulfillment center, Project MEND utilized other warehouse and office spaces. The warehouse staff, known as durable medical equipment (DME) handlers, worked with any available space. At times, the administrative staff was in a separate location, requiring clients to travel twice to procure the needed medical equipment to maintain mobility and independence. The former warehouse space was adequate yet wanting, and now with this state-of-the-art space designed for them, staff have streamlined the process of refurbishing, sanitizing, repairing and storing more equipment. Project MEND has seen a steady year-over-year increase in clients, and a fulfillment facility designed for the nonprofit’s specific needs will enable them to meet that need.

The process of refurbishing medical equipment begins with the pickup of donated pieces. For that reason, a loading dock in the rear of the facility and parking for the vans and trucks is vital. Donated medical equipment is brought into one side of the warehouse and stored until it can be assessed, cleaned, sanitized and repaired, if necessary. This side of the warehouse is called the “donation side”. The state of Texas has rigorous standards for reused medical equipment. Project MEND is the only organization licensed by the state as a Durable Medical Equipment Reuse Program.

Once medical equipment has been assessed for durability, usability and function, DME handlers clean, sanitize and disinfect the equipment. Items are disinfected with the Xenex germ-zapping robot that kills any bacteria living on the surfaces of medical equipment or with one of two Hubscrub machines. Pressure washers are also used for more oversized items or equipment needing extra cleaning. If an item needs repairs, and many of them do, DME handlers utilize the repair area. This space has two motorcycle lifts, the requisite tools and commonly necessary spare parts. In addition, this space has a bathroom and break room for our DME handlers, and most importantly, it’s air-conditioned.

The “inventory side” is on the opposite side of the warehouse from the donation side. This is where refurbished items are cataloged and stored until they can be distributed.

The front of the headquarters and fulfillment center is the welcome area, where clients can wait while their durable medical equipment is brought out. There is also the demonstration room, where DME handlers can help clients make adjustments to their durable medical equipment or learn about a new piece of equipment they plan on utilizing. Project MEND is designated the official state of Texas Assistive Technology Demonstration Site.

The new facility also includes three meeting rooms for clients, staff and board meetings. Each is outfitted with a flatscreen TV for presentations, and the largest room can facilitate video conferencing for remote meetings.

By having administrative staff and DME handlers operate in a facility designed for their specific needs, Project MEND is poised to meet the increasing demand for reused durable medical equipment in South Texas and beyond. The organization’s data shows that having the right piece of medical equipment available when it is needed positively impacts the quality of life for individuals living with disabilities. At Project MEND, they believe mobility is a right that all individuals — regardless of income status, gender and ethnicity — should be allowed to enjoy.

If you or someone you know needs durable medical equipment, contact Project MEND at 210 223-6363 or email us at info@projectmend.org.

Project MEND

Nonprofit Project MEND is committed to improving the lives of individuals living with disability and illness through the refurbishment, reuse and distribution of medical equipment and other assistive technology.