BATH TOWNSHIP — Lori Griffiths likes doing quiet acts of charity, where no one really knows she’s behind it.
One time it was raising the money to buy a letterman jacket for a Bath High School student who couldn’t afford it. Another time it was raising $22,000 to help send 33 Bath students on the eighth-grade class trip so they could stay in a hotel and see life outside Allen County. Or maybe she’d pay the bill for the older man in front of her at Walmart, whose card was just declined.
“I don’t do these things to brag,” she said. “I fully believe God has given me the ability to serve.”
Sometimes her gift is too big not to notice, like last year when she served as a surrogate and carried another couple’s child for nine months before her healthy delivery in November.
Griffiths is one of the 12 local Jefferson Awards winners. For the win, each received money to donate to a favorite cause. The Lima News will profile each of them between now and the streaming awards show the night of Thursday, April 22.
“Periodically I would hear or see remarkable anonymous contributions within our community and would wonder how they occurred,” Brian Rockhold wrote in his nomination. “When I would mention such to my wife or daughter, the typical response would be, ‘It was Lori again; she’s amazing.’ Lori’s expressions of caring and kindness make a huge difference for children (and often adults and families) within our community.”
Griffiths, who also coaches and helps out within her school, knows what people think when they hear about someone helping financially. She’s quick to clarify she is “lower to middle class” but has a gift for connecting people with expendable income to worthwhile projects.
“We never know what the impact we have on someone is,” said Griffiths, who likes the phrase “That’s how we make the oceans rise.” “It’s not only the impact on them but generations to come. I hope the students we’re impacting become better husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, employees or bosses.”
Speaking of generations to come, it’s hard to gloss over that surrogacy in 2020. Griffiths babysits children as her career, and one of her clients learned she shouldn’t have children anymore.
Griffiths grabbed her hand and say, “I got you. I’ll carry it for you.”
Two weeks later, they talked about it again to make sure she was serious. In March 2020, they went to a specialist in Columbus and implanted six of the mother’s healthy embryos. A healthy baby girl was born in November, and now Griffiths babysits that girl too.
“It was really funny throughout,” Griffiths said. “I’d tell people, ‘It’s not my baby.’ My husband would be like, ‘It’s not my baby either.’ We had a lot of fun with that. A good sense of humor goes a long way.”