Oilfield Helping Hands reopens Permian Basin chapter

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MIDLAND COUNTY --
Sometimes just one injury or sickness can be a huge toll on some families.

One nonprofit is coming to the Permian Basin to offer them a helping hand.

Five years after closing its doors, Oilfield Helping Hands (OHH) is coming back to the Permian Basin.

Like the name implies, Oilfield Helping Hands raises funds to give directly to petroleum employees whose families are struggling to pay bills in the face of an illness or accident.

Since they began in 2003, OHH has opened five chapters in major oil regions and donated more than $4.5 million dollars to more than 600 families whose income depends mostly on oil work.

Permian Basin Chapter President Jay Miller is spearheading the nonprofit’s return because he said Permian Basin oil workers deserve this charity in return for what they bring to the local economy.

“We raise a lot of money, we help a lot with the oil and gas community does a lot for the oil and gas community in general with taxes and everything,” Miller said. “We raise a lot of money, but nobody raises money for us.”

Miller realized the value of OHH years ago when his multiple sclerosis prevented him from walking up the stairs in his own house.

“I crawled up the stairs took me an hour and half, broke two ribs doing so and the next day I talked to some friends at OHH and they got me a check for $5,000 to put in a stairlift so I could easily get up to my house,” Miller said.

Although the Permian Basin is booming right now, Miller said it’s always possible for oil and gas employees to fall into a rut.

“Sometimes you’re rich, sometimes you’re not,” he said. “And that was a point in my life where I didn’t have $5,000 to put in that stairlift and they just said flat here’s your check.”

Qualified applicants can apply for benefits at oilfieldhelpinghands.org. Applicants need to have worked in the petroleum industry for at least five years and most of their household income should come from oil work.

OHH will host its first Permian Basin meeting Dec. 12 at the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation facility in Midland at 11:30 a.m..