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.
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
Mrs. Hallman was born in Panama where she endured a traumatic childhood.
arose before daybreak to pick fruit on her
grandfather's farm before taking ice cold baths in the river.
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.
wants to make that dream come true for other Central American children.
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.
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.
hopes to return to Panama to take over his
father's cattle farm.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
admits that progress on the club has been slow, but says she
"You have to crawl before you walk," she
"We believe on the faith of God everything can be accomplished," she