This letter is in thanks and response to Jeanny Sharp’s Dec. 3 editorial regarding the effort to build a YMCA in Ottawa.

 There are many identifiable reasons to build and operate a YMCA facility and programs here. It is a mystery why philanthropy is so rare and unusual in Franklin County when many in our county have the means to give without affecting their lifestyle and still leaving plenty for the next generation. In most instances, their estate was created here, they or their children grew up here, but for one reason or another they do not care to leave a lasting legacy or to pay it forward. What a loss for our community. Eventually, upon their deaths, and almost without exception, their accumulated wealth will leave our community and their names and memories will fade. Raymond and Glenda Schmidt, generous donors to Ottawa University and great supporters of this effort say it best: “We don’t give until it hurts, we give until it feels good.” Marguerite Gibson and Oneita Gaynor said, “Why not give back to our community that gave us so much and which has great needs?”

My family pledged for a number of reasons. We want our family remembered as a Franklin County family. We recognized that many would have to step up and commit to this worthwhile effort, if it is to happen. We recognized the issues that YMCA programming can solve in Franklin County. We hoped that many of our friends and colleagues would want to match or exceed our pledge. We have never lost anything by giving something away. It comes back in multiples. It does feel good.

I hope this letter touches the hearts of those with plenty, and they will join my family and many others in sharing their surplus with the rest of our community. Our community can afford to build the YMCA, but we can little afford to fail in the effort. If you have a desire to give, or want to know more or comment regarding the project, please contact me at anytime before it is too late.

I close with a prayer we say before our meetings on this project.  

“God, our Father, thank you for the blessings you have showered upon this project and this community. We know both OU and YMCA are ministries in your name and dear to you. Please give us energy and hope in this effort to broaden the services to the least of these in our community, including this project. Soften the hearts of those with the wealth to capture the vision, see the mission, and commit to the project. We humbly ask your blessing on the efforts to raise $4 million by the deadline of Dec. 31. We have faith in you that if this project is in your will at this time, you will see to it that we reach that goal. Thank you Father God, Jesus our Savior, and the Spirit that moves us for this opportunity to serve, the opportunity to know You better, and this opportunity to shine Your light and love to those near to us in this endeavor. Amen.”

— Tom Weigand, trustee of Kurt and Clara Weigand family trust, Ottawa