Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

November 9, 2013

Crisis Center fundraiser slated Nov. 16 at Carey Lake Ranch

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — The second annual Crisis Center Hunt at Carey Lake Ranch promises to have an even bigger impact than before, thanks to the increased number of supporters, ranging from sponsors and celebrity guests to tickets sold, say organizers.

Held from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, this year's fundraiser has triple the number of ticket sales, from 91 people attending last year to 272 confirmed this year, said ranch manager Billy Bateman.

“Last year, we raised $28,600, and we're just hoping that we can beat last year's amount,” he said.

Returning to help raise funds for the Crisis Center of Anderson & Cherokee Counties are professional baseball players Josh Tomlin, a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians; Andrew Cashner, who pitches for the San Diego Padres; and Micah Hoffpauir, a former first baseman and outfielder for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

Joining them are Joe Smith, pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, and Mike Fontenot, a Tampa Bay Rays second baseman.

“These five pro ball players will be signing autographs, and they've donated signed memorabilia,” Bateman said.

Josh McCown, a JHS graduate who serves as back-up quarterback for the Chicago Bears, started the Nov. 4 game against rival Green Bay Packers, leading them to a 27-20 win at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin, Bateman said, the first win the Bears have had in Green Bay since 2007.

A staunch supporter of his hometown, McCown has donated the game ball and a signed program from the Nov. 4 match for the auction.

Other auction items range from gift certificates from area businesses, guns, bows and arrows, fishing tackle, art prints, purses, jewelry, even a Lab puppy.

“There's a little bit for everyone,” Bateman said.

The event also features a wild game dinner prepared by ranch employees and live entertainment will be provided by country musician Jason Cassidy, who grew up near Houston.

Since last year, Carey Lake Ranch employees have supported the local crisis center through participation in the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” fundraisers, which raised approximately $22,000 between events in Palestine and Jacksonville.

“Even if we only raise $1,000 next weekend, that's a $1,000 that will help a woman or child that's been abused,” Bateman said.

According to 2009 statistics compiled by the Texas Council on Family Violence, there were 196,713 reported incidents of family violence, in which 111 women were killed by their intimate partner.

However, approximately 12,000 women and 16,000 children received shelter provided through agencies like the local crisis center, statistics state.

In an interview earlier this year with the Jacksonville Daily Progress, Crisis Center Executive Director Donald Hammock said the local shelter has no “average victim,” but helps victims “from all walks of life and all socio-economic backgrounds.”

The Crisis Center, with offices in Jacksonville and Palestine, offers confidentiality through free services like protective order assistance, licensed professional counselors, safe shelter and provision of necessities like food, clothing and transportation while clients are in residence. It also operates a hotline number, 800-232-8519.

“The services we offer are unduplicated services in each county – many victims do not have the funds to obtain those services or the transportation (needed to go) to another county where (help) might be available. Therefore, without the Crisis Center, these victims would not be able to receive the vital services to help them become survivors,” Hammock said.

The local shelter is funded through state entities, such as the Office of Attorney General, the Criminal Justice Division, the Health and Human Service Commission, CAC of Texas, United Fund, United Way and Cherokee and Anderson Counties.

“These make up half of our funding – the other half comes from our Resale stores in Jacksonville and Palestine, foundation grants, and community support,” Hammock said. “It is our goal to use the money entrusted in us to benefit the victims to its greatest potential.”

The Nov. 16 Crisis Center fundraiser is open to the public, with dinner and auction tickets priced at $20 for those ages 13 and older; youths 12 and under enter free. Tickets will be available at the door, Bateman said.

Corporate sponsorships are $300 each and will ensure the names of the eight people at those tables are entered into a drawing for an exotic hunt at the ranch. Sponsors can register up to the day of the event.

Meanwhile, auction items are being accepted through Thursday, Nov. 14, Bateman said.

To donate, contact him at 903-284-1710 or assistant Tracy Meador at 903-284-3202.