Vera M. Siebanoller, 86, of Lima, felt like a kid again.
After all her years believing in Santa Claus, he showed up at her home while she slept.
“Santa remembered me,” Siebanoller wrote the newspaper in January. She explained, “On Christmas morning, I went out to get my morning Lima News. There with the newspaper was a large wrapped package and a sack of things. The cards attached to both of them simply said, ‘From Santa.’”
The big package contained a quilt. The Christmas sack included a cup, soup, popcorn and a hot cocoa mix.
“I am so thankful for the kindness. I sure can use all of these gifts,” she wrote.
Siebanoller’s letter was just 197 words. However, it said more about the Christmas spirit than books that are inches thick. It showed us how the so-called “little things” can lift the human spirit. That was a message delivered many times in the stories and photographs published this year in The Lima News.
Tyler Coffey, of St. Marys, was the focus of one of those stories.
As a third-grader, Tyler sent a letter and package to a New York firefighter following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. To his surprise, he was contacted by firefighter Brad Mann before this year’s 15th anniversary of the attack. Mann told Coffey how the letter has helped him all these years.
Photographs our readers shared with us often came with a hidden message: Take some time to have some fun.
Jon M. Rogers, of Lima, did just that. When his 7-year-old granddaughter, Lani George, told him she bet he couldn’t make a snow angel, Rogers showed Lani that Grandpa is young at heart and fell down into the snow and made a perfect angel.
Another photo was of area residents Keagan Cox, Kale Cox, Richard Neau and Drena Meyer during a trip to Alaska. They visited the Arctic Circle, where they were photographed doing the Buckeye “O-H-I-O” cheer.
Then there were the haircuts.
The Bluffton University baseball players and coaches wanted to raise $8,000 for cancer research, so they sought pledges for donations if they would shave their heads. Meanwhile in Putnam County, most of the Pandora-Gilboa football team shaved their heads and 600 people — more than half the village of Pandora’s population — purchased “Team Autumn” T-shirts to support 16-year-old Autumn Sprunger, who has a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Youngsters had their pet causes, too.
The second-graders at Allen East schools spent the month of February collecting about 90 items for the animals at Deb’s Dogs, a local animal rescue group.
We saw the power of family.
Harold Boley, 84, of Elida, was one of eight brothers who served in the military during either World War II, the Korean War or Vietnam War. All returned home safely. On May 14, his children arranged for the Korean War veteran to be on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., where he and other veterans viewed war memorials.
For the Dukehart family, also of Elida, it was about Scouting. Alex became the fourth son of Bethany and Joseph Dukehart to receive Eagle Scout honors, joining brothers Ty, Noah and Ian.
And there were the goodbyes.
For 39 years, Betta Watters treated customers to excellent food and pie at the Lickity Split restaurant. She closed the business May 29, joking that at age 76, it was time to go fishing.
Longtime basketball coaches Dick Kortokrax, of Kalida, and Greg Rickard, of Crestview, ended celebrated careers. Kortokrax, 82, coached boys basketball for 42 years and posted an 890-371 record — the most career victories in Ohio high school basketball history. Rickard coached girls basketball for 26 years, compiling a 428-158 record.
After decades in business, DeHaven Home and Garden Showplace will be closing, owners Tim and JoAnn DeHaven announced last week.
And let’s not forget the late Ruth Shirey, 93, of Lima, who died June 18. The last line of her obituary read: “Ruth just wanted to let everyone know that ‘the old lady died.’”
ROSES AND THORNS: Somebody has been doing burnouts in the rose garden.
Rose: To the Elrod family and their proud drag-racing history. Beginning with father Dave, the two brothers, Tony and Jacob, along with driver Pat Forster, and sister Jamie,who serves as co-crew chief, Team Elrod has been racking up victories for more than 30 years. They have included seven International Hot Rod Association World Championships, including one by Jacob this year.
Rose: To Delphos City School District Superintendent Kevin Wolfe. Upon learning that Duane Reynolds did not receive an honorary diploma after leaving school to serve his country during World War II, Wolfe visited Reynolds at Lost Creek Care Center with diploma in hand.
Thorn: Temperatures that hit the single digits last week are followed by a weekend ice storm.
PARTING SHOT: Have a Merry Christmas
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.