Gary Fickes

Volunteer of the Year Tarrant County Commissioner Court, Precinct 3

Gary Fickes, Precinct 3 commissioner, jokes that, unlike the rest of the HealthCare Heroes’ honorees, he “came kicking and screaming as a patient in dire need of a liver transplant in 2008.” In truth, his appreciation of health care began in 1994, when he served on the Harris Health Exchange. “This opened the window to reveal the depth of care and dedication that goes into saving lives, improving outcomes and helping families through the toughest times of their lives,” he says. Following his stint on the Health Exchange, he then became a member of the board of trustees of Harris HEB Methodist Hospital in Bedford, which he chaired for two years, and the board of trustees of the Harris Methodist Health System. As county commissioner, he works closely with the JPS Health System on budgets and health care facilities serving the residents of Northeast Tarrant County. In 2009 he led his staff to create the Empowering Seniors Expo, which has grown to host more than 1,500 attendees this past year. The event partners with local hospitals to offer free health care screenings for adults age 50-plus. In 2012, the Texas Association of Counties presented Gary Fickes its Best Practice Award for Innovation for his team’s development of Empowering Seniors. Fickes is a partner in Fickes Dorety Development, an integrated real estate development firm based in Southlake. He and his wife Cathey have three grown children and live in Southlake.     What drew you to the health care field? When I became a member of the Harris Methodist HEB board of trustees, I experienced even more deeply how health care miracles occurred daily and the constant breadth of commitment that health care providers offer, from administrative staff to those professionals who directly serve and care for patients. Who is your biggest inspiration? The health care heroes that I observed and met at Harris Methodist HEB inspired me to become more deeply involved in health care, which led me to serve as a member of the board of trustees of both the hospital and the Harris Methodist Health System. Without fail, their day-in, day-out focus on delivering the best possible care and their ongoing personal concern for patients and families has led me to have such a passion for ensuring that we have a strong health system throughout Tarrant County. What is your advice for people getting into the health care field? There may be no more noble and selfless profession on this earth than health care, as it requires continual sacrifice and balance of priorities. I know of so many doctors, nurses and administrators who have placed their personal lives in the background in order to care for patients and families. These healing miracles often come at a great price including missed time and special occasions with their families and loved ones. The greatest health care practitioners combine excellent medical skills with a true passion for their patients. These are the attributes that I feel someone wanting to enter the health care field needs to have. – Robert Francis