LIMA — For 2018 Jefferson Award winner Bev Beery, her concern has always been helping children. From volunteering at Heartbeat to mentoring students in Lima City Schools to fundraising for Family Promise of Lima-Allen County, she has kept children in the forefront of her service to the community.
Beery’s lifelong dedication to children began at 29 when she was hospitalized with West Nile Virus and had a near-death experience. She said at that time, a figure dressed in white visited her bedside as she floated above her body.
“I wasn’t supposed to live,” Beery said. “God healed me. He spared my life. So I owe him a lot.”
It was then she decided to spend the rest of her life in servitude. Today, she is active with Kiwanis Club of Lima, Young Life Allen County, Trinity United Methodist Church, Lima City Schools mentorship programs, Heartbeat of Lima and the Senior Citizens Services.
The organization closest to her heart, however, is Family Promise, a homeless shelter in the heart of Lima that works with 13-area churches to provide a place for homeless families as they work toward getting back on their feet.
“Bev is just a very very compassionate outgoing person,” Marlene Schumaker, Family Promise board member and friend of Beery, said. “She wants to help everyone, but her true function in life is to help children. … That’s one of the things I see in her that I don’t see in other people. A child needs someone who believes in them. It’s the only way they’re going to gain confidence.”
Unlike other homeless shelters in the area that tend to serve certain populations, Family Promise aims to keep a homeless family together as it moves toward financial stability.
The organization works by hosting families at its downtown location during the day and driving them to one of 13 churches at night to eat and sleep. Russ Thomas, executive director of Family Promise, also coordinates with nonprofit and governmental agencies to ensure family members get what’s necessary for them to succeed on their own.
Thomas also nominated Beery for the 2018 Jefferson Award.
“She does things, and I don’t even ask. That shows how much she cares about Family Promise,” he said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.