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Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital Brings Together Willits


Willits, CA – On Thursday, February 4, during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH) hosted its fourth annual Prayer Breakfast, a spiritual gathering of the Willits community. Coordinated by HMH Chaplain, Dennis Long, the event brought together faith leaders, community leaders, medical personnel, first responders, and local business owners.

Five local faith leaders led in prayer from their respective faiths – reflecting the diversity, acceptance and openness of the community. Prayers were offered for unity, home and family, protection, and for the city, state, and nation.

Held at the Willits Community Center, over 200 members of the community attended the annual event which started in 2012 as a gathering to draw upon the rich faith and diversity of the community as the source of its strength and hope for the future.

In between magic tricks and jokes, inspirational speaker and magician Billy Riggs inspired attendees with his message of achieving balance and happiness. According to Riggs, the keys to a happy and balanced life are: character; maintaining relationships; achievement or working towards a goal and faith or believing in something far more important than one’s self. Riggs emphasize the importance of making goals; as it keeps one inspired and motivated. He encouraged everyone to make a a bucket list and to keep adding to it every day. In speaking about spirituality or faith, Riggs said, that one has “to realize that not everything is up to you, so that when things don’t go your way, you have a higher power to turn to besides yourself.”

As a parting message, Riggs said, “Find people you can be yourself with, people who will be there for you when you need them most. Invest your life in people, not things. Don’t wait till you’re 85 to realize this, because by then it’s too late.”

Later that night, Riggs amazed and amused the community with his magic at the Willits Community Center, while emphasizing his message of positivity. In a performance that was equal parts hilarious and uplifting, over 250 attendees came away inspired after the event co-sponsored by HMH and the Willits Christian Churches Fellowship.

HMH President and CEO, Rick Bockmann, provided a heartfelt greeting, sharing how working for a hospital has shown him the importance of prayer, especially since most people come to the hospital during their most vulnerable times. “Every time, I hear the helicopter landing, I realize that someone is in there needing help. And I say a quick prayer. I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer.” He also acknowledged his appreciation for the local leaders’ dedication and commitment and for their effort to come together as one family serving the needs of the community.

As the prayer breakfast came to a close, Long offered a final prayer of dedication where he asked for a special blessing on the Willits community and the nation.