Last updated: August 25. 2013 3:57AM - 19 Views

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On this day, like no other on the calendar, compassion and generosity resonate. Children are the center of our universe. Our bonds are celebrated.Hope lives. It is Christmas.We used those words in this space four years ago today, Christmas Day, the day Christians observe the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ. It’s also part of a holiday season that encompasses people of many various faiths, even those of no faith. Whether it’s from Jesus, who told us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, or that jolly ole elf who tells us we better be nice, the underlying theme is that, today, we recognize how we should treat one another. “It is the essence of Christmas,” we said on this day in 2003. The words are fitting at this time any year, but all the more so this year, given the news from last week. The Lima community received two tremendous donations, ones that include children as the center of our universe, that celebrate our bonds. These donations, like so many others that come in this season of holidays, are the essence of Christmas.The estate of former Lima accountant Eugene A. Beeler gave the Lima Family YMCA a $3 million gift, the Y announced last week. Later in the week, the Leo and Arlene Hawks’ Ar-Hale Foundation announced it would donate the 19 parcels of land around Lima Stadium it has purchased since 2004 for a city park.These gifts truly represent the spirit of this season. They add wonderment to this most special time of year.Beeler, who was a founding partner in Howard & Beeler (now Lentol, Violet, Keintz & Co.), was a strong believer in the YMCA, the recipient said in a news release. Beeler had retired to Fort Meyers, Fla., in the mid-1980s and died in October 2006.His estate’s gift to the Lima Family YMCA is the largest contribution it has ever received. It tops the $1 million gift the Y received in 1998, reporter Brian Evans informed readers in last Wednesday’s newspaper.The gift is wonderful. It will help young people and families in need to access the YMCA as well as provide scholarships for memberships and programs.The Hawks’ gift is also wonderful: nineteen parcels surrounding Lima Stadium. The foundation will donate the land to the city and a new park will further enhance one of the city’s main corridors. “You’ll arrive in Lima, first to the major presence of Lima Memorial, then the high school, downtown, and St. Rita’s,” Lima Mayor David Berger said when the gift was announced Thursday. “Those are very powerful presences in our community on the spine of the city. The commitment of the Ar-Hale Foundation goes a long way to making a dream come true.”The mayor approached Leo Hawk about the idea when plans for the new Lima Senior High School started coming together, The Lima News reported last week. Three front companies started buying property in 2004, according to Allen County Auditor’s Office records. Sixteen of the 19 property transfers already have been recorded, totaling $820,000. Hawk has also footed the bill for legal fees and demolition of the houses, already under way.Both gifts announced last week are fitting displays of what Christianity calls on believers to emulate today and throughout this season of family and giving. While we all can’t contribute $3 million or even $1 million to our favorite causes, we all do know best what causes we believe in. Beeler’s and the Hawks’ gifts demonstrate again that people do give voluntarily to the causes in which they believe. Other ways of people giving to strangers exist throughout the season, capped today by the gifts we’ll exchange among family and other loved ones.This is, after all, the essence of Christmas.

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