Freer, Texas, is known across the Lone Star State for many things.

It’s the birthplace of the Muy Grande Deer Contest, which in 2015 celebrated its 50th anniversary in the brush country whitetail hunting hot spot.

It’s also home to the world’s largest rattlesnake, though luckily but a statue perched near a sign for the state’s official annual serpent roundup.

However, these days the hamlet nestled at the intersection of State Highways 44 and 16 is regarded for its accessibility to quality health care, thanks in large part to the generosity of donors who have deep connections in Duval County that date back generations.

Joe Ash and Bette Hunter Ash

Joe Ash and Bette Hunter Ash

It’s a good thing, too.

The ongoing oil and gas activity in the Eagle Ford Shale region, the remote nature of most ranching operations in the area and the overall demand to aid thousands of residents who may have had to drive to Alice in the past – or farther, especially in an emergency – all highlighted the need to have an expanded CHRISTUS Spohn Freer Family Health Center in town.

That’s exactly what residents received.

Generous financial donations from the community paired with a gift of land from the L.D. Hunter and R.J. Hunter families allowed the CHRISTUS Spohn Family Health Center to relocate to a larger and more visible facility that better meets the needs of those living in and around Freer.

A nurse practitioner and support staff oversaw an average of 5,000 appointments each year, and it became clear that additional staff and a larger facility were necessary to provide for a growing population for this expanding community.

“The needs of the community outgrew the original location,” said Linda R. Arnold, Director of Development for the CHRISTUS Spohn Health System Foundation. “After we received the generous donation of land from the Hunter families, the Freer community banded together to raise the funds necessary to make the new facility a reality.”

The Health Center at the corner of Main Street and Highway 44 – just down the street from the site of the previous facility – is three times larger than its predecessor and boasts a larger staff.

“One of our main goals for the new Family Health Center was to reduce wait times,” said Susie Enriquez, Nurse Practitioner at the Center. “The additional staff allows us to increase availability by staying open until 7 p.m. on Mondays and opening every other Saturday so residents can get excellent medical care in Freer without traveling outside of our community.”

The Hunter family has a rich history in Freer dating back to the 1930s. When CHRISTUS Spohn Health System inquired about a plot of land near Highway 44 that was for sale at the time, members of the L.D. Hunter and R.J. Hunter families gathered and decided to donate the land so the CHRISTUS Spohn Family Health Center could be constructed.

“Freer is a fairly large rural area, with oilfield traffic, so there was a great need for a bigger medical facility in town. It’s a long way to the next physician’s office or clinic, and at least 30 minutes to the closest emergency room,” says Bette Hunter Ash, a member of the Hunter family, who along with her husband, Joe, are members of the CHRISTUS Spohn Foundation’s Dr. Arthur E. Spohn Society. “We’ve always had businesses in Freer and so we needed to give something back.”

Like other South Texas donors, family is important, says Hunter Ash, which made leaving a legacy of care – one that undoubtedly will last a long time – an easy decision.

“We’ve always done things as a family and we wanted to show our appreciation for the community that always has been good to us,” says Hunter Ash. “It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved.”

About the Dr. Arthur E. Spohn SocietyDr. Spohn Society

The CHRISTUS Spohn Health System’s mission is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ so that all may experience God’s healing presence and love.

One of the ways you can pledge your support to that mission is through planned giving, which assists CHRISTUS Spohn while also helping you achieve your personal, financial and estate planning goals.

Options include:

  • Estate plans, including trusts that provide income to you for life
  • Bequests
  • Gifts of stock and other appreciated assets
  • Memorial gifts
  • Endowment gifts
  • Gifts of land
  • Insurance policy gifts

When considering making a planned gift to CHRISTUS Spohn, you have choices. One is whether to designate your generous gift as unrestricted or restricted.

An unrestricted planned gift allows Spohn to use the funds, once they’re available, to support areas of greatest need. These extremely valuable gifts offer flexibility to Spohn’s leadership, which can allocate the assets to support the Health System’s mission.

A restricted planned gift allows you to give specifically to a single area or multiple areas that you would like to support.

If you have decided to include CHRISTUS Spohn in your estate plans, we would like to show you our appreciation by including you as a member of the Foundation’s honorary society – the Dr. Arthur E. Spohn Society.

The Foundation is devoted to helping you decide how to best leave a lasting legacy of support and can provide the proper documentation and language for your estate plans. For more information, contact Linda Arnold, Director of Development, at 361-881-3940 or email

Posted on November 13, 2015