Tax Deductable donations can be sent to:
The Ricky King Children’s Fund
5051 Castello Drive #21
Naples Florida 34103
Or here online. Simply click on “Make A Donation”. Thank you.
Children’s playroom at North Collier Hospital to be dedicated in memory of Rich King
Reprinted from The Naples Daily News
Children with illnesses and diseases that lead to hospital stays at North Collier Hospital have reason to smile and laugh these days, despite feeling pain or weak and wanting to go home.
They have a brand new playroom in the pediatrics department, brightly decorated and full of new toys, books, DVDs and games to make the time pass a little easier.
The new Kids Korner playroom has been created in memory of Rich King, a longtime radio personality for WINK/WNOG who died last year and left behind legions of devoted fans and family. King was known for his love of children, the community and his frank but amiable demeanor on the airwaves regarding political issues, both local and beyond. He died June 21 from pancreatic cancer, his third bout with cancer. He was 68.
” He would have loved this more than anything,” Joan King, his wife, said of the playroom in his memory.
A dedication ceremony for Kids Korner will be Friday, March 12, at 4 p.m. in the pediatrics unit at North Collier, off Immokalee Road in North Naples. The event is open to the public and invitations went out to 700 supporters.
Donations were sent to The Ricky King Children’s Fund for a memorial and the idea of the playroom was suggested by hospital staff.
The Ricky King Children’s Fund was founded by the Kings in 1978 in memory of their late son, Ricky, who died of Reyes Syndrome when he was 4. The charity, run by a local board of directors, provides financial assistance to ill children and their families who need help and contributes money to local children’s health-care programs.
” We were trying to think of some special project,” Joan King said, referring to her husband’s memorial. “The hospital came up with the idea. They had a playroom. It was bleak and had just a few toys.”
The walls and carpet were gray and King said she knew just the right person to call, Jo Alaimo, an interior designer with Robb & Stucky who was a friend of her late husband’s.
Now, each wall in the playroom is a different color and the carpet is glow-in-dark with a Disney theme, there’s an entire book collection, DVDs and games. One wall has a mural done by local artist, Jeff Feffenden.
“Now the room is filled every day with kids using it,” King said. “And there are things they can take back to their rooms.”
All in all, about $10,000 from donations to the memorial went into the project, she said.
At Friday’s dedication, Naples Mayor Bill Barnett will cut the ribbon. Barnett also is co-chairman of The Ricky King Fund. A plaque will be hung in the playroom in honor of the late radio personality.
A $50,000 donation!
Rich and Joan King accept the gracious donation
The Naples Winter Wine Festival, held in February, raised over five million dollars this year by auctioning rare and fine wines to hundreds of participants from all over the U.S. and Europe. At a ceremony held on April 1, The Naples Children and Education Foundation, sponsor of the Wine Festival, presented the Ricky King Foundation with a check for $50,000, representing the largest single donation the Foundation has ever received. Rich and Joan King, founders, were on hand to receive the check. The money is earmarked to help children in Collier County with special needs that aren’t being met by insurance or other means.
If you live in Collier County and have a child with special medical needs that insurance isn’t covering, please fill out our online application.
For more information about the Naples Winter Wine Festival, please visit their website.
Building up Charities’ Bank Accounts
Saturday, April 12, 2003
By PAUL HERRERA, Business Editor, Naples Daily News
Sandra Brim, executive director of Partners for Breast Cancer Care, has been rooting for the real estate market this year.
The Lee County charity is one of four to split a $101,000 donation from four Arthur Rutenberg home-building franchises in Southwest Florida. During the past five months the companies have set aside $1,000 from the sale of each home priced below $1 million and $2,000 for homes above that line for a program called Building Better Lives.
A.R.B.C Corporation is one of four Arthur Rutenberg franchises combining to donate $101,000 to local charities as part of the Building Better Lives project. Gary Coronado/Staff”Our total budget is just over $100,000,” Brim said. “So this is a huge help to us.”
The nonprofit, founded as part of a breast cancer education project by the University of Vermont in 1991, provides services and educational programs in low-income areas throughout the county. The university project, and the grant money supporting it, ended in 1995, but Brim has continued the effort on a tiny budget built from a handful of regular fund-raisers.
Brim’s effort caught the attention of Bobby Lyons, president of Lyons Housing and ARH Marketing Group, who designated Partners for Breast Cancer Care as the franchise’s charity for a share of the total.
Money from the Building Better Lives program, which has totaled more than $75,000 over three years, has helped the nonprofit double its workload. Now Brim said she hopes to get word of the group’s services to more of the community.
Building Better Lives began in 2001 with the Arthur Rutenberg franchises setting aside $1,000 from each home sold to build the pot. In its inaugural year, the companies handed over $96,000 to four charities. Each franchise selects a beneficiary of one-quarter of the total. Last year, the franchises collected $108,000.
This year, despite a much-slowed local economy that has permeated home sales, the franchises maintained nearly the same level.
“It was a struggle, but we were fortunate to be able to generate that amount for the charities,” said John Globetti, president of A.R.B.C. Corporation, one of the four participating franchises.
A.R.B.C.’s share of the money will go to the Immokalee Child Care Center. The center provides day-care services and early education for children of the working poor in the Collier County community.
“They really came through for us,” said Valarie Bostic, executive director of the Immokalee Child Care Center. “We use a lot of our money for a tuition assistance program so the parents can afford the cost of child care.”
Three of the four charities chosen focus on children. Keystone Custom Homes, a former franchise that was sold in January, chose The Ricky King Children’s Fund. The fund helps critically ill children afford services and medical help their families can’t afford and insurance won’t cover.
“It could be something as simple as a generator for a child who is on a breathing apparatus,” said Dawn Montecalvo, the fund’s executive director in Southwest Florida. “In the summer with the power outages, they need to have a power source that will keep working. Those are all things not covered by insurance or, if they’re low income, it’s a luxury.”
Toussel Homes, a builder franchise in Naples, chose Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. The national nonprofit grants wishes for kids with life-threatening illness.
The program ran from November through the end of March, giving the franchises the prime months of the winter season to raise the money. The companies build homes in The Brooks, Palmira, Olde Cypress, Shadow Wood Preserve, TwinEagles, Rookery Pointe and various other communities in Southwest Florida.
Contact Business Editor Paul Herrera at 213-6037 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lifestyles – March 17, 2003
Talk radio’s Rich King retires
Broadcaster battling cancer
By DENISE L. SCOTT, email@example.com
Conservative talk radio host Rich King — programmed into the telephone speed dial of faithful listeners throughout Southwest Florida — has retired from his morning slot on WINK-1200 AM/WNOG-1270 AM.
King was diagnosed with abdominal cancer in March 2002 and took medical leave from “The Rich King Show” in mid-December. This is his third battle with cancer in 10 years.
King joined WNOG in Naples 12 years ago and was simulcasting on WINK for the past six. His producer and fill-in host, Josh Knauer, 37, of Naples, has taken over the show.
“To say he’s touched the minds and hearts of thousands of people in Southwest Florida would not be overstated,” Meridian Broadcasting program director Bob Grissinger said.
King was not always the talk radio host who politely provoked listeners to analyze local, national and world events. Once upon a time, he was rock ‘n’ roll DJ “King Richard.”
While resting at his home in Naples, the Chicago native recounted his evolution from the job at an AM rock station he worked at while a student at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
“It was a far-out place,” King said.
After graduating from Marquette in 1956, King had to choose between Harvard and a radio career. A job offer at a top St. Louis rock station sealed his fate.
“That was a wild five years,” King said. “I was out on three or four appearances in one night. St. Louis was a great music town.”
In 1962, he moved to another rock station in San Diego, followed by a contemporary adult music station in Cincinnati. While at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati, King Richard evolved into Rich King.
“I was getting older,” he said. “I thought, ‘I’m not going to be King Richard when I’m 63.’ I thought there had to come a time when I got into adult radio.”
AM was mainstream radio then and King interviewed nearly every personality who came to town: Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter as well as Bob Hope, Elvis Presley and countless other entertainers.
He said Hope was the most delightful celebrity to interview. As for Elvis, “He was very nice. He was obviously on something, but he was very nice.”
King said he purposely has kept few celebrity friends.
“I wasn’t particularly fond of people in the industry because they took themselves so seriously,” he said. “Even people in the smaller markets would get that persona and thought they were major figures in the world.”
His wife, Joan, said he has always been down to earth.
“He’s always said, ‘I hate broccoli, cocktail parties, chit-chat and waiting in line,’ ” she said. “In a way, he’s shy. But when he has to be in front of the microphone, he turns into a different person.”
King simply loves talking to people.
“There are people who call regularly and become characters on the show,” he said. “They can be an enormous pain in the neck or become part of the interaction. Most people are very funny.”
Cindy Kucharski of North Fort Myers has listened to King for six years and called nearly every day.
“I’m kind of a talk radio junkie,” she said. “I worked part time and home-schooled, so it started as a background thing I had on. Then I was compelled to call in for comments from the peanut gallery.”
Tony Phelan, owner of Pincher’s Crab Shack, started listening to King while driving to Pine Island every day, then he became an advertiser. “(King) came out and inspected the place,” Phelan said about his restaurant. “If you say ‘fresh grouper,’ he says, ‘Show me the fresh grouper.’ ”
Events, some tragic, helped keep King grounded as he developed a large fan base — including “Late Show” host David Letterman, who listed King as one of his influences in “The David Letterman Story.” He cited King’s idea to rally excitement over a race between two slow-moving river ferry boats for a charity.
“I spent two-thirds of my work on charity stuff,” King said. “To me, broadcasting was making money for people who needed help.”
His charity work became a more personal crusade when his 4-year-old son, Ricky, died of Reye’s Syndrome. Ricky was one of King’s five adopted children from Mexico, Vietnam and the United States.
The Kings created The Ricky King Children’s Fund, which raised more than $1 million in Ohio to help discover the link between Reye’s Syndrome and aspirin when given to children with the flu or chicken pox.
Money from the fund pays for equipment for children with severe mental and physical disabilities. It helped about 40 local families in 2002.
King’s career has thrived in Southwest Florida, but his health has not. He battled and beat esophageal cancer in 1993 and prostate cancer in 1999.
“When I had cancer of the esophagus, I had a 3 percent chance of survival,” King said. “Within five months, I would be gone. I was told by at least 10 doctors to wrap it up, make my will and forget it.”
He only missed work a few times because of chemotherapy and radiation.
“My doctor said, ‘It’s really important for you, a Type A (personality), to get back to work, or you’re going to go crazy and this is going to kill you,’ ” King said.
So he did as the doctor ordered. At one point, King actually got chemotherapy treatments from a battery-powered kit in the studio.
“The batteries were in backward and started on fire while I was on the air,” he said. “It was attached to my hip on a fanny pack and was smoking and started to flame a little bit.”
He kept right on doing the show, signaling for his engineer to put out the fire.
King’s abdominal cancer had been misdiagnosed for more than a year. After finally getting treatment, he switched his show from the afternoon to the morning in May 2002 but is now too weak to work.
His son Danny King, 24, remembers the last time the doctors expected the worst.
“I remember him telling us he wasn’t going anywhere. He had too much to do here still,” he said, recalling a father who taught his brood to blow bubbles and play ball in the back yard.
“He’s always beaten the odds,” Danny King said. “He’s so determined. You could give him a week and he’ll last 10 years. He’s not going down until he’s ready.”
Reprinted with permission from the Ft Myers News Press.