Good reasons to Have a Ball
Area businessman Rick Williams helps plan The Baron’s Ball, the annual benefit for Levi Hospital
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.