Annette Barton – A heart for healing gives Annette Barton the passion to support the city’s oldest hospital.

An unruly horse gave Annette Barton a memorable encounter with what she now calls Baton Rouge’s “community hospital.”

“I fell off my horse when I was in sixth grade and broke both my arms,” she explains. “They brought me directly to the General.”

Today, Annette’s connection with the medical center is as solid as the plaster casts she sported after that long-ago riding accident. While‚Äă she has served a myriad of area organizations—including the boards of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation, Baton Rouge Green, Burden Foundation and Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center—she has remained dedicated to Baton Rouge General and its services to the community.

“When I see the hardworking staff, physicians and nurses and their belief in and ownership of the Baton Rouge General, that’s what inspires me,” Annette says. That inspiration has driven her to serve on the General’s Foundation Board of Governors for nine years and to chair the Excellence in General Gala multiple times. She has also steered the selection committee for the Excellence in General Awards, which are presented to individuals, families and corporations that make a significant impact on the community through leadership and philanthropy.

Annette says it has been easy to support the hospital’s endeavors when she sees the commitment of its own staff members. She points to the You, Me & BRG employee giving program, through which hospital workers have donated more than $654,000 to the hospital in three years, funding special projects, supporting an Employee Assistance Fund and providing for the purchase of vital equipment.

“We are so fortunate in Baton Rouge to have that kind of community spirit,” Barton says.

Annette says she encourages other women to step up to service and leadership roles as they can. “Organizations need the wisdom and strength of women,” she says. “Any time a woman has that she can give, I think she’ll find that the rewards are so great.”

They need not look far for an example, say BRG Foundation staff members. “[Annette] has supported nearly every campaign or event we’ve had over the past decade—and not just financially, but also volunteering her time and talent,” says development communications specialist Nicole Colvin. “Many times, she is one of the first to show support for new endeavors and sets an example for others to follow.”

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What do you love about the volunteer efforts that you do?
It’s just the feeling that I could possibly make a little difference in the organization and the community. It’s one of the most gratifying things in my life.

How is your cause making a difference?
When you come to the Baton Rouge General, you know you will have the finest medical care. That’s what they pride themselves on, for people from all walks of life—those who can afford it and those who cannot.

Is there a big event for your cause?
The Excellence in General Gala is held each fall. The 2014 Father/Daughter Sweetheart Dance, which I also think is one of the most wonderful events we have, will take place February 23.

What is something we don’t know about your cause?
The General’s Burn Unit is the only comprehensive burn facility in a 300-mile radius. The ribbon cutting for the second phase of the center’s renovation, focusing on its outpatient treatment unit, took place recently; fundraising has started for the third phase, the inpatient unit.