Thanks to the support of the community, improvements can now be made to the security system of the Labor and Baby Unit at Baptist Health Medical Center-Arkadelphia.

Thanks to the support of the community, improvements can now be made to the security system of the Labor and Baby Unit at Baptist Health Medical Center-Arkadelphia.
According to Tony Hardage, administrator for BHMCA, gross revenue from the third annual Steak Soirée for Baptist Health Foundation was $34,240.
“We received a $25,000 grand from the Cabe Foundation. Including the grant, the total was $59,240,” said Hardage.
Once expenses are paid, the net amount will get BHMCA closer to what they need to add the security system.
Hardage noted that BHMCA averages approximately 500 deliveries a year. Because of the increase in deliveries, Hardage said plans were hatched to improve the hospital’s process for infant security.
“The product that we are wanting to purchase will put bands on the infant and the mother that are electronically read and located,” said Hardage.
“If an infant gets separated from their mother, or if they are moved from a designated area, an alarm would go off,” he added.
The steaks were prepared by World Champion Steak Griller David Nelson. Revenue from the 2017 Steak Soirée were used to to help improve the security system, while funds from the 2016 affair were used to convert an existing patient room into a pediatric room.
“Thanks to the community for their support of the hospital,” said Hardage.
“Thank them for their willingness to invest in the community and thank those who supported it. We had a great turnout and I am very appreciative,” he added.
Arkadelphia native Rex Nelson was the guest speaker for this year’s event.
After sharing memories of going to the Clark County Courthouse on Election Night to listen to the election results as a child, his interest in politics, his career and spending time in the former Clark County Hospital, Nelson turned his attention to the future of Arkadelphia.
“As I look to the future, I think the best days for Arkadelphia are still ahead,” said Nelson.
According to Nelson, there is a demographic and population trend that is changing the state.
“Between 2000 and 2010 we were basically two states within a state. We had 39 counties to gain population and we had 36 counties that lost population. The 39 that gained population tended to be in Northwest Arkansas, Central Arkansas, West Central/North Central Arkansas,” said Nelson, who added that the counties that lost population are in the eastern half of the state, as well as parts of the southern part of Arkansas.
Since the 2010 census, Nelson noted the trend has increased.
“Between 2016 and 2017, according to Census Bureau estimates, there were 41 Arkansas counties that lost population, which is the majority of our 75 counties,” said Nelson.
According to Nelson, Clark County is one of the 75 counties in the state that has lost population.
Even though the state has gained population, Nelson noted the majority of the counties will have lost population by the time the census is conducted for 2020.
“In essence, what you are seeing is growth in Arkansas driven by Northwest Arkansas first, and then, to a certain extent, by the Little Rock Metropolitan Area and by the Jonesboro area. Those areas are really going to have to drive growth in our state,” Nelson said.
Based on the available amenities in the area, Nelson believes that Arkadelphia, Malvern and Hot Springs has potential to help drive growth in Arkansas.
“If you look at the amenities we have in this area and if we were to all pull in the same direction, I think we are stronger as a region,” said Nelson.
According to Nelson, Arkadelphia has some attributes that other communities in the state do not have.
“Places that are growing in America tend to be places where there are higher education in the knowledge-based economy,” Nelson said.
“With about 5,000 college students here in Arkadelphia, this city and this area is very well-positioned to be the shining star that South Arkansas really needs to join up with Northwest Arkansas, Central Arkansas, the Little Rock area and the Jonesboro area as the growth engines of the state,” said Nelson.
The Baptist Health Foundation is a resource that assists BHMCA in its efforts of hosting local fundraisers. All of the proceeds raised locally will remain in the community.
Although this year’s Steak Soirée is history, donations are still being accepted for the hospital’s project.
Individuals who would like to make a donation can mail their funds to:
Baptist Health Foundation
9601 Baptist Health Drive
Little Rock, AR 72205-7299.
When making a donation, please specify that it is for Baptist Health-Arkadelphia. One hundred precent of all donations made will be returned to the local community.