Attorney Matt Finch, shareholder and president of Gill Ragon Owen, P.A., and his wife Casey, owner of The Full Moon gift shop, are heading up this year’s Southern Silks, the annual Kentucky Derby-themed event benefiting Methodist Family Health. They recently took the time to reflect on their involvement, talk a little horse racing and explain why their first meeting was a good bet.
How did you become interested and involved in the work of Methodist Family Health?
Matt: Our firm has had the honor of representing MFH for numerous years and had an opportunity to see a multitude of areas they provide support for in our community, especially the kids who need it most.
Casey: While accompanying Matt to Southern Silks since its inaugural year, it has become one of my favorite events to attend. When they asked us to be the chairs, we jumped at the chance.
What is the importance of an event like Southern Silks to the work of MFH?
Casey: We had an opportunity to tour the Methodist Children’s Home and were awestruck by not only the level of commitment to these children and their families, but also the amount of resources required to run the facility. The amount of staffing required is overwhelming and an event like Southern Silks helps make sure that these kids and the incredible staff that supports them have the resources they need on a daily basis.
Do you have a fundraising goal in mind?
Matt: Yes, we hope to raise $127,000 for our Arkansas Centers for Addictions Research, Education and Services program (Arkansas CARES) as well as support the entire continuum of care for Methodist Family Health throughout the state.
What specific needs are met by this event?
Casey: Our special appeal this year is to raise money to remodel three of the kitchens in the cottages for the Arkansas CARES program on the campus of Methodist Children’s Home. We hope to raise enough money to replace the appliances in these kitchens as well. The Arkansas CARES program helps moms who have a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental health issues. They can come to this 120-day program and keep their children with them so they can heal together and learn to work with each other as a family.
Would we find you at Oaklawn or watching the Kentucky Derby if you weren’t otherwise involved in this event?
Matt: I can say with full confidence that while we both love to visit Oaklawn every year, we know nothing about picking horses. You will always find us with a varied assortment of tip sheets to help us out. That and a bunch of losing tickets.
Casey: I like to pick my horse by the best name and/or most unique jockey silks.
Do you have any interesting stories about a day at the track?
Matt: It’s easy for me to remember my greatest day at the track: It was at Oaklawn in 1992, and one of my oldest friends swung by our box and introduced me to one of her best friends who immediately caught my eye. Her name was Casey Sparkman and now she’s my wife. If I never cash another ticket at Oaklawn, I’ll still come out ahead because of that day.
Southern Silks will take place on Saturday, May 5 at 6 p.m. in the Metroplex Event Center.
Tickets + Info: MethodistFamily.org/Southern-Silks