By Deb Spalding, Jim Houck, and Joseph Kirchner
Merriam-Webster defines philanthropy as “the practice of giving money and time to make life better for other people.” It’s a big word, and with the holidays upon us, this is something that many will do without paying much mind to such a fancy label. Whether donating money or food to our local food banks, handing out candy canes at a community function, performing in church, or simply helping a neighbor through a door, our efforts of philanthropy do not go unnoticed. It is here that we will say thank you to each other for all of the wonderful gifts we give in this season and year-round. It is here that we will take notice of some individuals in need of philanthropy in our local community. By emphasizing these three people, we mean to inspire you to assist people in need, support missions of assistance, and perform random acts of kindness. Happy holidays!
Robert Maichle is a 13-year-old character from Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. He was born with developmental disabilities and autism that complicate his daily life. He also suffers from seizures and is very impulsive. His safety is always a concern. When he was recently approved for a service dog from 4 Paws for Ability out of Xenia, Ohio, Robert and his family became responsible for raising $13,000 to purchase his service dog. An anonymous donor gave the money Robert needed.
Robert, along with his family, will travel to Ohio in October 2014 to meet his service dog. His dog, which will be named in honor of the donor’s husband, will be trained to comfort Robert and to help him remain calm. He will also perform search and rescue if Robert should wander off.
On November 16, 2013, a benefit 5K walk/run was sponsored by the Monterey Country Club in Blue Ridge Summit. The overall winner of the 5K walk/run was Robert’s brother, Christopher, with a time of 19:31. There was also a vendor sale with $1,200 of the proceeds (after expenses) donated to help another child at 4 Paws for Ability. “T-shirts and bracelets are still being offered, and there are other fundraisers planned,” Robert’s mother, Stacie Massett, said. She added, “We have also decided to make this an annual event to help other children and to help with the annual cost of the service dog. We still have a trip to Ohio for twelve days to pay for.” Donations can be made out to: Service Dog for Robert at 12012 Mentzer Gap Road, Waynesboro, PA 17268.
Mike Hartdagen has always been a kind and helpful person. He is known and loved by most people in the areas of Emmitsburg, Fairfield, Thurmont, and Rocky Ridge. Mike has had problems with his heart for quite a few years now. He was experiencing episodes of swelling up with fluids, and he received every test there was for his symptoms. He was continually told they could not diagnose the problems he was having. While getting out of bed one morning, he passed out. In the hospital after this incident, several new tests were performed. The doctors found that his heart was only functioning 15 to 25 percent of normal function, and he was passing out because of fluid covering his heart. They placed him on a heart transplant list to give him a healthy harvested heart.
Mike has been unable to work because of his heart. Mike and his wife, Carole, have a son, Bradley, and their bills are now solely Carole’s responsibility, because she is the only one employed.
The Sons of the American Legion Squadron 121 held a fundraiser for Mike and his family. The Fundraiser grossed very close to $10,000. The net amount they received will help them for a while, and, if needed, more fundraisers will be held in the future. SAL Squadron 121 would like to thank everyone who donated and participated in the fundraiser.
A victim of the hotel fire at the square in downtown Emmitsburg, Tina is a generous single mother in desperate need of your help. She works full-time in the kitchen at Mount St. Mary’s University and takes care of her daughter and son, who both attend Emmitsburg Elementary School. Her family is not in a position to help her financially; and, her car, which is twenty years old, is now beyond fixing. Though Tina does everything she can with her very limited resources, it is impossible for her to purchase even a used car, and she truly needs transportation at this time to continue her employment and to transport her children to and from school. Please open your heart and provide as you can for this most deserving woman and her children. Help Tina and local families in need by contacting the Seton Center Outreach at 301-447-6102 or make checks payable to Set on Center, with the person(s) name you are supporting indicated on the memo line, and mail to Seton Center, 16840 South Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, MD 21727.
Rebecca Mulhern’s pregnancy was very difficult. She was high risk and ended up being hospitalized, needing a feeding tube. She was unable to work due to this unforeseen complication. When her son, Caleb Roberts (pictured right) was born, he wasn’t breathing and was without oxygen for a period of time, resulting in spots on his brain that are damaged. Caleb was diagnosed with torticollis of the neck. They thought he had a stroke at birth due to his not moving the right side of his body.
Caleb has been in therapy since two weeks of age. He will have developmental delays and learning delays as he grows. He is now in need of braces on both legs, costing $1,800 each, in addition to a compression garment for his body, costing $2,500. These are to help stabilize his body as he grows. He has also been fighting salmonella poisoning on top of all his other health issues.
The Mulhern family got behind on everything, due to Rebecca being out of work. Caleb is a full-time job right now, with three different therapists and lots of different doctors. Rebecca’s husband also got laid off in June and that didn’t help matters. To respond with help for this family, please email email@example.com.