FMHCCI Early Beginnings
The Sun News
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The following article was published October 17, 1991, in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina newspaper The Sun News. The caption that accompanied the above photo reads "The Hallman family stands in front of the old store that they hope will one day become a source of income for them to start their international exchange club for orphans and foster children. They are (top row) Marta; (second row, from left) Yamel, Arthur, Hadassah and Jasmine; (bottom row, from left) Bruce, Luis, Anaith and Felix."
Couple helping youth, orphans
(By Valencia J. Covington)
Anaith Hallman understands the importance of having strong family ties. As a child, raised by her grandfather in Panama, she was one of 19 family members who made a harsh living on a farm.
The floors were made of dirt and water was drawn from a deep well. The farm life was demanding and Anaith often ran away, being placed in an orphanage from time to time.
A frequent American customer would often come by one of the road stands the family operated and tell her stories about the United States, but she still had no idea what the country was all about.
"Before I came here, I thought the United States was another planet, " she said.
Now, after about 20 years of living in the United States, she and her husband, Bruce, want other orphaned children to have an opportunity to taste the good life.
The couple, after numerous problems with miscarriages, looked to Panama and South America to adopt. With the proper consent of her brother - who had been visiting the United States - they adopted Anaith's nephew, Felix.
"I didn't want to go back, and he [my father] thought I would have a better future here." Felix said of how he came to stay in the United States after a visit with the couple. "I liked it when I came, it was different."
Felix was 7 at the time. He is 18 now, and a senior at Loris High School.
The Hallmans, who said they prayed for more children, have gone back to Panama since and are now the adoptive parents of seven.
After Felix, they adopted Arthur, 4: Hadassah, 6, Yamel, 8, and Jasmine, 9 - all brothers and sisters; along with Marta, 12, and Luis, 15, all from Chirique, Panama.
Bruce said the experience has been a very humbling one.
"You have to do it on faith, " he said. "Every time we went to pick up a child, the conditions were the pits."
The couple - who knows the problems with paperwork, immigration and the Department of Social Services - wants to start the FMH Children's Club International to provide an exchange program for children in foreign countries as well as within the United States.
The orphaned and foster youth will be provided shelter and the chance to attend U.S. schools. The youths, who would stay for a school year, would help out with the farming in order to help provide food for themselves.
The Hallman's hope that the youths will be able to be adopted or placed with foster parents, but most of those decisions will be left up to the individual countries and states. The Hallman's said they are working with some of the larger businesses in foreign countries and are hoping the companies will sponsor a child by paying for the transportation.
The couple is trying to form the club without any financial assistance from the government.
"There's plenty of ways of doing it without that [government help]. Bruce said, "The government has enough worries already."
Jackie Holland-Davis said the project is not an impossible one.
Holland-Davis is the assistant director of foster care with the S.C. Department of Social Services.
She said more than likely the family will have to be licensed as a foster family or as a group care agency, and the sooner the family begins working with government agencies on things such as charters, fire inspections and licensing, the easier it will be in the end.
The couple purchased an 80-acre farm in the Pleasant Grove community of Loris where its club will be headquartered. The family already grows its own fruit, vegetables and raises livestock.
Bruce, an engineer at AVX Corp., has the only income coming into the family at the time.
An old store, which was moved from its original site to the Hallman's property after being donated to the club by merchant Danny Hardee, could be important to the couple's hopes.
They hope to fix up the store and divide it into rooms that can be rented to people interested in living on a farm with a family environment.
The family hopes enough money can be made to build a dormitory, where the students can live.
"A lot of people take things for granted," Anaith said referring to the opportunities that most people have. "They don't realize what they have."
She said some people in Panama only make about 75 cents an hour and are looking forward to coming to the United States.
Anaith said two teachers from Panama have agreed to come to the club on a volunteer basis to keep their children and the foreign children fluent in their native language.
Their children will speak Spanish often when at home, although they all speak and write English.
The children have had to adjust but have become fond of different foods and hobbies.
Marta loves pepperoni pizza and doing crafts.
Yamel, who is almost a straight A student, said she likes collards and broccoli.
Luis, likes everything about the United States and loves rice and beans.
The family cannot support the club totally on its own. Churches, organizations and individuals have been donating clothes, mattress, a freezer, a refrigerator, windows for the store's renovations and feed for their animals.
And while most of the community has been wonderful, the couple said they have had some problems with racism.
"We have had a lot of criticisms," Anaith said. "When you try to do something good or nice, people always have something to say.
The family has complained of being called names and having their mailbox beat up.
But, the couple intends to follow through with plans and is confident of success because they said God is with them.
"Someone is always there to help," Anaith said. "In the Bible, God feeds a lot of people with a piece of bread - we are not trying to brag, we just want to help the orphans."
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The following article was published July 15, 1992, in the Loris and Tabor City, South Carolina newspaper The Tribune. The caption that accompanied the above photo reads "Bruce and Anaith Hallman have made a farm in the Mt. Vernon Community their home, and hope to make it a refuge where children from around the world can come and learn the best the U.S. has to offer. Mr. and Mrs. Hallman are in the top, left photo on their farm. They have adopted nine children from her native home, Panama. Mrs. Hallman and former Horry County Superintendent John Dawsey posed with seven last fall: (bottom left photo, clockwise from lower right) Arthur, Hadassah, Yamel, Marta, Felix, Luis, and Jasmine. In the photo at right, Marceia Endara, daughter of the Panamanian President, teaches poor children in the Central American country. She is helping with the FMH Children's Club International efforts."
Farm For Kids
Couple Wants Place For Worlds' Kids
(By Deuce Niven)
An international gathering place for the children may be the future for a small, quiet farm in the Mt. Vernon Community south of Loris.
That's the hope and prayer of Bruce and Anaith Hallman, who have begun the difficult job of organizing FMH Children's Club International.
"Nothing is impossible if you don't give up," Mrs. Hallman said recently. "I would like to give the children an opportunity to come here and learn."
A native of Panama, Mrs. Hallman remembers well growing in a harsh land. She heard stories of the U.S. from visitors, but found their stories of life here difficult to believe or understand.
"Back then, I thought the United States was another planet," she said. "I couldn't believe what they said."
She came to this country to marry one man, but dropprd him when she realized he was an alcoholic, Mrs. Hallman said. Then she met the man she would marry, a fair skinned, red headed South Carolina native.
"I thought he was the ugliest thing I had ever seen," she said. "I found out he was the most beautiful man."
Despite their love, and many attempts, the Hallmans were eventually told by doctors they would be unable to have children. Their decision to adopt came naturally, and they looked to her native land and elsewhere in South America for children they could help.
First to join the family was Mrs. Hallman's nephew, Felix, who was seven. He is now 19, a graduate of Loris High School who is considering his future.
After learning to deal with immigration officials, those at the State Department, and those from the local Department of Social Services, the couple began looking for others to adopt.
They now have seven, including Felix. Others include Arthur, 4; Hadassah, 7; Yamel, 9; and Jasmine, 11; all brothers and sisters; and Marta, 13 and Luis, 15. All are from Panama.
All contribute to the farm, where corn and cattle are raised. Mr. Hallman, an engineer at AVX Corporation in Myrtle Beach, has the only stable income.
What the family envisions on their 80 acre farm is a secure facility with limited access to insure the safety of their family and guest from around the world.
There children would learn about life in the U.S., staying different lenths of time, whatever their Visas would allow.
They have been busy collecting clothing and other items for children in need, focussing so far in Panama. Mrs. Hallman has made several trips to her native land, taking with her duffle bags stuffed with gifts for poor children.
Marcela Endara, daughter of the Panamanian president, has been supportive of the Hallman's efforts, Mrs. Hallman said. Other officials here and elsewhere have offered encouragement.
The meager beginning to their dream includes an old store given to them that might be converted for dormitories. Churches, groups and individuals have given generously, with boxes of goods stacked in the corner of their home.
It seems a meager beginning to a grand plan, but both Mr. and Mrs. Hallman say they will continue to work and pray, and to put no timetable on God.
"My concern is the children," Mrs. Hallman said. "Give them a chance to come and let them be at piece on this property."
"I've learned that you can't do this on a schedule," Mr. Hallman said.
.The Twin-City News
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The following article was published December 10, 1992, in the Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina newspaper The Twin-City News. The caption that accompanied the above photo reads "The FMH Children's Club International founded by former Leesville resident Bruce Hallman and his wife, Annie, recently received the donation of a home, pictured above. From left to right, Felix, Jasmine, Hadassah, Yamel, Arthur, Bruce, Annie, their dog Chomba, Luis and Patrick."
Hallman's form FMH Children's Club International
(By Anna Long)
The Christmas season, the celebration of Christ's birth, is a time to remember children, not just those of our community but children of the world. Bruce and Anaith (Annie) Hallman of Loris have shared a concern for children of Panama and other countries for a number of years. Through this concern and love they have formed the FMH Children's Club International.
Bruce, a former resident of Leesville, is a son of the late Frances Mitchell Hallman. Many in this area will remember the private kindergarten Mrs. Hallman began in Leesville to support her two small children following the untimely death of her husband. Following Bruce's graduation from Batesburg-Leesville High School, he pursued a technical career for a year before enlisting in the Air Force for four years. With the aid of the GI bill he obtained a bachelor of science degree in electrical and computer engineering at Clemson.
Annie was born in Panama and spent her childhood on her grandfather's farm in Arriajan. One of the 19 family members involved in the care and harvesting of fruits and vegetables, Annie lived a harsh life. The floors of their home were dirt with water drawn from a deep well. She rose early each morning and harvested fruit in the dark before bathing in the cold waters of a nearby river.
An American Army chaplain, who visited the family's fruit stands, first told Annie of life in the United States. But she felt the U.S. was another planet, not a nearby country.
Somehow Annie and Bruce found each other and were married in 1975. They very much wanted children of their own, but after numerous miscarriages, they decided to adopt. They began looking in Panama and South America and adopted Annie's nephew, Felix, when he was 7. He is now 19 and resides with Bruce and Annie and six adopted brothers and sisters on the family's 80-acre farm in the Mount Vernon community south of Loris.
The family now includes Arthur, 4; Hadassah, 7; Yamel, 9; and Jasmine, 11; brothers and sisters from one family and Marta, 13, and Luis, 15. These children all come from Chirqui, Panama.
With help from his mother for whom the orginization is named, Bruce and Annie were able to buy the farm where they hope to provide an exchange program for children in foreign countries as well as within the U.S. These youth will be provided shelter and the opportunity to attend U.S. schools. Staying for a school year, they will help with the farming, which in turn would provide their food.
It is Bruce and Annie's desire that these children will be able to be adopted or placed in foster homes but these decisions will depend on the individual countries and states.
Trying to form the club without any financial assistance from the government has proved an up-hill climb. Bruce, an engineer at AVX Corp., has the only income coming into the family at present. But people and orginizations have made contributions which have included clothing, mattresses, a freezer, a refrigerator, an old store, windows for the store's renovations, and feed for the farm's livestock.
The Hallmans plan to eventually build a dormitory to house the students as they arrive at the farm.
Bruce and Annie also feel their mission in life will prove a success, because they said God is with them. As Annie stated, "We just want to help the orphans," no matter what nationality.
Those desiring to make contributions to this worthwhile cause may do so by writing FMH Children's Club International; 2289 Pleasant Grove Rd., Loris, SC 29569. In this season of giving and remembering others, let us also remember the children.
After many dedicated years of working with hundreds of children in her kindergarten, Frances Mitchell Hallman would most certainly be filled with pride to know her name lives on in Bruce and Annie's unselfish efforts to help children of the world.
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The following article was published February 4, 1993, in the Conway, South Carolina newspaper Horry Independent. The caption that accompanied the above photo reads "Bruce and Annie Hallman of Mt. Vernon with the Beginnings of Their FMH Children's Club."
The Hallmans Hope to Start An International
(By Kathy Ropp editor)
Annie and Bruce Hallman have a dream.
They want to bring children from all the world to their Horry County home to teach them English, prepare them for college and give them a place to live while they attend college.
Two years ago, they incorporated a non-profit orginization, the FMH Children's Club.
FMH stands for Frances Mitchell Hallman, Bruce's mother. It was her inheritance she left the Hallmans that allowed them to buy an 89-acre farm in the Mt. Vernon community, south of Loris.
"I guess it was a step by step process. You try to have children and that bombs out and you start the adoption process and the more you get, the more you like it. We just felt it was our calling in life to do this...so we decided to go all the way and make it an international orphanage," Hallman said.
Mrs. Hallman was born in Panama where she endured a traumatic childhood. She arose before daybreak to pick fruit on her grandfather's farm before taking ice cold baths in the river. Her home had a dirt floor and water was drawn from a nerby well.
An American Army chaplain told her about the United States and she held on to a dream that she would eventually leave her abusive father in Panama and come to the United States.
Now she wants to make that dream come true for other Central American children. She and Hallman have adopted six Panamanian children and have a seventh boarding with them.
One student who refused to obey the Hallman's strict rules was sent back to Panama. Mrs. Hallman said she knows of at least three more students who would like to come to the United States to study, but the high cost of getting them here has prevented it.
Patrick, the Hallmans' lone student, wants to attend Coastal Carolina College for two years and then transfer to Clemson University for a degree in animal science. He has graduated from high school, but continues to attend Loris High School so he can improve his English enough to succeed in college.
He hopes to return to Panama to take over his father's cattle farm.
He is willing to help with the chores on the Hallman farm and conform to their rigid rules "because it's my future, I think."
One of the Hallmans' sons, Felix, has been in the U.S. since he was 7-years-old. He graduated from Loris High School and will report to the U.S. Navy in March.
With help from the GI bill, he plans to attend UNC-Chapel Hill and then Medical University of South Carolina.
As a medical doctor, he wants to return to Latin America to repay his people.
"They've helped me a lot. Everything I've learned hasn't been in the United States. I've learned a lot in Panama," he said.
The Hallman's son Luis, said he misses the warm weather in Panama and the tropical fruit available there year round.
But Mrs. Hallman doesn't paint a tropical paradise when she talks about Panama.
"A lot of children are literally in the street begging," she said.
She contrasts that with the United States.
"I went to visit my kids at Daisy School and when I saw how they throw the lunch away - It's so sad," she said.
While working on her school and orphanage, she has undertaken the task of helping Panama's children where they are.
This past year, she visited Panama three times taking clothes and other supplies to the people.
She has gained the support of Marcela Endara, the Panamanian president's daughter and learned what the country's needs are.
She hopes to go to Panama again this spring to take clothing, bed sheets and food for the area's Christian shelters. She is attempting to collect 1,000 spoons for Panama's soup kitchens.
Anyone who wants to donate to the children's club or the Panamanian effort can drop them off at Conway Feed and Grain.
She also witnesses to the people about Jesus Christ.
"Central America needs to learn more about the Bible. They need to quit the drinking. They need to come back to the family," she said.
The Hallmans have cows, pigs and chickens on their farm. The children work hard helping to bale hay to earn money for the children's club.
The family lives in a combination house, mobile home which Hallman is renovating by himself.
"One weekend you work on windows, the next on cars and the next you type letters. It's a love. It comes from within," said Hallman, an engineer at AVX.
The Hallmans love the peaceful rural life near Loris, but have decided they need to be nearer Conway.
They are trying to sell or trade their farm for something in the Conway area.
Mrs. Hallman admits that progress on the club has been slow, but says she isn't discouraged.
"You have to crawl before you walk," she said.
"We believe on the faith of God everything can be accomplished," she said.
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The following article was published June 17, 1993, in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina newspaper Neighbors (a publication of The Sun News). The caption that accompanied the above photo reads "Staff Sgt. Linda Ipser, public affairs technician (right) talks with Annie Hallman (center) and her family during a visit to the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in an attempt to meet the Thunderbirds."
Mount Vernon couple gives Panamanian children a home
(By Peggy Mishoe For The Sun News)
It was on one of her many trips to Panama that Annie Hallman first met Air Force Sgt. Phillip Benjamin.
Benjamin, who provides life support and teaches survival to members of the famous Thunderbirds flying team, was in Myrtle Beach last week for the Sun Fun Air Show and it was a chance to renew a friendship and make some kids happy.
Annie Hallman is a native of Panama and she and her husband, Bruce, have made it their goal to bring adopted children to this country - a land where Annie Hallman once thought was on another planet and far beyond reach.
Annie Hallman often makes trips to Panama to help the needy children there and meet children who might be candidates to return some day to the U.S.
It was on one of these trips that she met Benjamin, a native of St. Thomas Island, who asked a lot of questions about what she was doing.
"I said, 'I think God wanted you to know what I was doing so you could help me,'" Annie Hallman said.
Benjamin didn't forget that meeting.
When the Thunderbirds came to perform in Sun Fun 1993, Benjamin rented a car and drove to the Hallman's farm. He carried with him Thunderbird memorabilia, T-shirts, and several used duffel bags, which Annie uses to carry clothes to Panama.
At the Air Force Base on June 8, while on a hectic schedule, Benjamin and Senior Master Sgt. Mike Jarnegan loaded the family into two cars and drove them down a runway to take pictures beside one of the jets.
Jarnegan said Benjamin doesn't do all the things he does simply because he's in public affairs, but because that's the kind of person he is.
"That's pure goodness," Annie Hallman said. "He has a real good heart. He didn't have to do what he did."
Benjamin and other Thunderbird personnel also loaded the family up with souvenirs and a large framed picture autographed by the Thunderbirds.
"The Thunderbirds should be proud to have somebody like him working for them," Annie Hallman said.
Annie Hallman and her husband Bruce live on a farm in Mount Vernon - a place that has become a home for adopted Panamanian children. The couple has founded FMH Children's Home International, which will be based on the 80-acre farm near Mount Vernon they are buying.
After 20 years of marriage, the Hallmans have no children, but six Panamanian children live with them. Along with giving their adopted children a home in the U.S., they also hope to establish a school to teach English to foreign students preparing them for college in the seclusion of their farm.
"I'll take as many as I can handle," said Bruce Hallman, an engineer with AVX Corporation and the sole provider for the family of eight.
"God has a purpose for everybody in this liife, and if you don't fulfill that purpose, you're not going to be happy," he said.
The couple first adopted Annie Hallman's nephew, Felix, and brought him to America. Felix is in the U.S. Navy now and plans to become a doctor. Patrick graduated from high school in Panama and attended Loris High School to improve his English. He is enrolling at Horry Georgetown Tech and hopes to attend Clemson College and study animal science. Luis is an 11th-grader at Loris High School.
Jasmine, Yamel and Hadassah attend Daisy Elementary and Arthur just finished pre-kindergarten.
The Hallmans and the children work the farm, taking care of about 10 cows, 16 pigs, chickens and a garden. "There's never any time to sit around and be bored," Bruce Hallman said.
Bruce Hallman said he wants their operation to be self-sufficient, not depending on donations or government funding.
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