BULLHEAD CITY— When WestCare Arizona Area Director Cheryl DeBatt first suggested naming the WestCare Women’s Treatment Center in Bullhead City “Hildy’s House,” Hildy Angius wasn’t too thrilled with the idea.
DeBatt wanted the name to reflect the efforts of Mohave County’s District 2 supervisor in making the residential treatment center a reality. A nice gesture, for sure, but one that Angius initially didn’t support.
“When Cheryl first came to me with the idea of naming this facility ‘Hildy’s House,’ I have to be honest with you that I cringed a bit,” Angius said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday for the facility that will open later this spring. “Those who know me know that I have a few pet peeves. One of them is things named after politicians. Roads, building, airports — everything.
“So I asked Cheryl if I could think about it before she did anything. And I thought hard.”
She said she thought about the purpose of the center — to save lives, to improve lives, to provide hope — and eventually relented. With one important caveat.
“I came back to (DeBatt) and said that I would be honored to have it named ‘Hildy’s House,’ but there was one condition that I needed met,” Angius said. “I asked her that in the future, when people ask the question, ‘Who is Hildy and why is this house named after her?’ they are not told that I was an elected official who helped raise money for it.
“But I want them to be told that Hildy was an alcoholic/addict who reached out for help in November of 2006 only to discover there were no residential treatment facilities in Bullhead City or Mohave County. But with the help of a residential treatment center in California, and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, she recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body and went on to be an elected official in the community and promised herself and others that she would help other women recover from their addictions in order to go on to fulfill their purpose and live their dreams here in Bullhead City.
“Obviously, Cheryl agreed.”
Angius was instrumental in securing funding to get the project started.
“She has gone to bat for people in this community like nobody else,” said Dick Steinberg, president and CEO of the WestCare Foundation.
Reflecting on the long road — it has been a little more than 13 years since the epiphany that she needed help that wasn’t available locally — Angius summed up her emotional journey.
“When I woke up that morning in 2006 and decided to choose life instead of crawling into death, it was beyond my comprehension that one day I would be standing here amongst friends and colleagues presenting this gift of hope to the town that loved me, adopted me and showed me the rewards of being a sober woman. Some of them are here today.
“I want the women who walk through that front door to know that there is hope, that they can recover and that they, too, can have a life far beyond anything that they ever dreamed for themselves.”