Rio’s supports family in need
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
On Saturday, Oct. 11, Rio’s Bar and Grill hosted their most recent fundraiser for Brian Boyd, who was injured in an accident on Aug. 1 and remains in a coma at UAB. As Boyd was a sheet metal fabricator at Performance Car Craft, it was fitting that an antique/restored car show was part of the day’s event, which included raffles and the band Razz Ma Tazz in the evening.
Owner Crystal Hamrick was able to donate about $5,000 to Amber Boyd, Brian’s wife.
“Brian has youth on his side,” Hamrick said. “He could still just wake up; you have to believe in the possibility of a miracle.”
Hamrick’s first fundraiser was on June 29, 2012, for Helena resident Jaime Cagle, who passed the following month from a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Hamrick said that her dream was to open a bar, and the name Rio’s honors her favorite uncle, Bill Johnson, a truck driver whose company name was Rio’s Trucking. In January of 2004, Johnson was killed in an automobile accident.
“From then on,” Hamrick said, “I said someday we would own a bar and call it Rio’s. There were very few bars he hadn’t frequented in his travels!”
“And, rio means water,” Hamrick explained. “My family all loves to be around water.”
Not surprisingly, she also chose to raise money for Adaptive Aquatics, which offers water therapy for Wounded Warriors and disabled/special needs children.
Along the way, Rio’s also raised $4,000 for the families of Simeon Gilmore, Casey Cumberland and Joshua Smith, who were murdered in 2012.
Charities including Two-By-Two, Easter Seals and Kid One Transport have also been beneficiaries of Hamrick’s efforts.
“I want to give back,” Hamrick said, who has lived in Helena eight years. “I believe that karma is your choice.”
“There is always a diverse crowd here,” she added. “It doesn’t matter who you’re sitting next to, you’ll find a common ground and enjoy yourself and you’ll end up coming back.”
Hamrick estimates that Rio’s has raised $30,000+ (over half not tax-deductible) since opening. Their recent honor of being voted Best Bar & Grill in Shelby County seems more than fitting.