Good rea­sons to Have a Ball

Area busi­ness­man Rick Wil­liams helps plan The Baron’s Ball, the an­nual ben­e­fit for Levi Hos­pi­tal

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Spotlighton -

Busi­ness­man Rick Wil­liams, hon­orary chair­man of the an­nual Levi Hos­pi­tal Ben­e­fit Gala – The Baron’s Ball, said he is very much sup­port­ive of any char­i­ta­ble mis­sion, es­pe­cially Levi Hos­pi­tal, that con­trib­utes to men­tal health and psy­chi­atric care.

The 2013 Baron’s Ball will be held Oct. 26 in Horner Hall at the Hot Springs Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

Christi Hughes Batts, vice pres­i­dent for de­vel­op­ment, Levi En­dow­ment Foun­da­tion, said this is the first time the ball has been held on Satur­day, and will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for per­sons from out­ly­ing cities, such as Lit­tle Rock, to at­tend.

“I have a fam­ily mem­ber that has per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­enced some men­tal health is­sues, and there is just a need for all the good Levi Hos­pi­tal does. Not only that, they cover the en­tire state with their in­pa­tient psy­chi­atric pro­gram and they are a great or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Wil­liams said.

Through his ser­vice as hon­orary chair­man, Wil­liams said he hopes to make more peo­ple aware of the ser­vices pro­vided by the hos­pi­tal.

“I hope to make some of the busi­ness as­so­ciates that I work with around the state more aware of what Levi Hos­pi­tal does, and some of the pro­grams that their foun­da­tion take care of – all the ser­vices they pro­vide for the state,” he said.

Af­ter sell­ing a chain of re­tail stores in the south­east United States that he owned for a num­ber of years, Wil­liams said he got into health care real es­tate as an owner leas­ing to var­i­ous health care op­er­a­tors.

“Then, I de­cided to branch off and cre­ate some of those in­di­vid­ual ser­vices my­self. Now, I’ve gone from re­tail real es­tate to health care real es­tate to own­ing and op­er­at­ing health care com­pa­nies,” he said.

As a vi­sion­ary leader who loves cre­at­ing jobs and help­ing peo­ple, and with his ex­pe­ri­ence in the health care in­dus­try, Wil­liams said he can as­sist the hos­pi­tal through the Baron’s Ball by get­ting peo­ple aware of what the hos­pi­tal does.

“I don’t think peo­ple re­al­ize the need (for men­tal health care) and the great ser­vice they pro­vide. They cover ages 18 and up and also pro­vide care for in­di­gent per­sons,” he said.

“It’s a huge need. I bet ev­ery­one’s fam­ily has some­one who suf­fers from some type of men­tal hand­i­cap, whether it’s bipo­lar, de­pres­sion, schizophre­nia – we just need to make peo­ple aware.”

Batts said the most money raised in a sin­gle year by the Baron’s Ball is $75,000.

“We al­ways hope to go above what we’ve done be­fore,” she said.

Spe­cific pro­grams sup­ported with the funds raised at the event in­clude in­pa­tient psy­chi­atric care pro­vided for those aged 18 and older, and tak­ing care of in­di­gent pa­tients.

“If it wasn’t for the foun­da­tion, we couldn’t pro­vide that ser­vice. We have peo­ple come through our doors and we do not turn them away,” she said.

The hos­pi­tal also pro­vides an out­pa­tient be­hav­ioral health pro­gram for peo­ple “that don’t quite need in­pa­tient care, but need group ther­apy or in­di­vid­ual there a few times a week,” Batts said.

“The Baron’s Ball also sup­ports our stu­dent ath­lete out­reach pro­gram. We put cer­ti­fied train­ers on the side­lines and pro­vide train­ing for coaches and the lo­cal am­bu­lance ser­vice. If one of the stu­dents get hurt, we help them pro­vide the best care pos­si­ble to the stu­dents be­cause our cer­ti­fied train­ers have spe­cial­ized train­ing when it comes to sports in­juries,” she said.

The theme for this year’s gala is a Vaudeville Cir­cus, and will be­gin at 6 p.m. with a silent auc­tion and cock­tails, din­ner at 7 p.m., and en­ter­tain­ment and live auc­tion at 8 p.m.

“The hos­pi­tal needs to be sup­ported. The com­mu­nity and state needs to sup­port Levi Hos­pi­tal be­cause they are a mis­sion. If Levi didn’t take care of th­ese peo­ple, you don’t want to know what the out­come would be. There would be an out­come that we’d all feel, so ev­ery­one needs to sup­port the hos­pi­tal and what they do,” Wil­liams said.

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