Community comes together for Baptist Health’s annual Steak Soiree

Political leaders, health professionals and other notable members of the community joined the Baptist Health Foundation at the annual Steak Soiree on Thursday evening, held in the beautiful Big Red Barn at Family Farm, to show communal appreciation and raise funds to support Baptist Health Medical Center—Hot Spring County.

The Steak Soiree is, as Baptist Health puts it, “an enjoyable event with purpose.” The annual fundraiser is a delightful evening for everyone involved, during which the health organization embraces the chance to pleasantly interact with the community they serve while fulfilling their mission “to strengthen our healing ministry’s ability to give quality, compassionate care and improve our patient-focused care areas.”

The annual get-together was halted briefly due to COVID, but organizers have held a drive-through event with a similar intent the last two years. Attendees and Foundation officials seemed happy to return to the normal course of fundraising business this year, with a sit-down dinner and silent auction that was highlighted by the appearance of two special guests.

The reigning Miss Arkansas 2023, Cori Keller, spoke briefly to the audience before the keynote speaker for the evening, Joe Kleine, took to the stage. Kleine is a former Razorback, Olympic Gold medalist, and NBA star who now co-owns Corky’s Ribs & BBQ in Little Rock.

Keller was in attendance because she is the official Goodwill Ambassador for the system, an auxiliary role she happily accepted after being crowned Miss Arkansas 2023.

“I had the pleasure this year as Miss Arkansas to get to travel the state being a partner with Baptist Health, and getting to represent the system this year is just an honor and something that’s very near and dear to my heart,” Keller said.

“The legacy of Baptist runs through and through. It has been part of some of the most pivotal moments of my life, thus far,” Keller said, noting that she was born and had received most of her primary health care, to date, through the Baptist Health System in her hometown of Stuttgart.

Keller’s father has also become part of the Baptist Health patient family. He unfortunately missed seeing his daughter take the crown at the Miss Arkansas pageant in June because he was receiving treatment at Baptist Health for complications related to triple bypass surgery.

Keller shared that her father is on the mend now, thanks to the expert care he has been receiving at Baptist Health. She expressed her gratitude for the healthcare professionals who have served his medical needs, and for the people in attendance who support Baptist Health’s mission.

A delicious meal featured filet mignon that was expertly prepared by the team of World Champion grill master, David Nelson. The meal also included an alternate choice of chicken, plus roasted vegetables, kosher salt & olive oil crusted baked potato, fresh baked yeast dinner rolls and New York style cheesecake.

Silent auction items were on display for attendees, who had the opportunity to place bids on whatever items peaked their interest. Among the items up for bid were unique pieces of artwork, luxury handbags and accessories, gorgeous jewelry, and other grand offerings.

The evening was kicked off with a few words of welcome by Shannon Fleming, Vice President of Systems Development at Southern Administrative Services, followed by an invocation led by Doug Weeks, Vice President & Chief of Strategy & Innovation at Baptist Health.

Read the full story in Saturday’s Aug. 26 newspaper edition.

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