Recently, the Journal-World published an article about a special recognition for downtown Lawrence.
We laud the heart of the people of Lawrence even more.
The Journal-World mentioned that a lady had volunteered more than 1,000 hours at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Her story exemplifies the lives of so many Lawrence citizens I have known. We cannot use names as we might inadvertently omit someone, but it is the quality of the character of the people of Lawrence that we hold most dear.
When Harold Siegrist, an educator, newly arrived in Lawrence, confided to his dentist that he was afraid not all of the families were giving their children proper dental care. The dentist told Harold that if it was because of lack of funds, Harold was to bring that child to him.
Before it became popular for boys to wear long hair, Harold took those who needed haircuts to the barber shop. One day, Harold took three students to the barber shop that your present mayor now owns. As they sat waiting their turn, a stranger asked Harold, “Who is paying for these haircuts?” Harold responded, “I am.”
The stranger told Harold that he was a member of a civic organization and that he would discuss this at their next meeting. The organization assumed that responsibility thereafter.
Harold’s staff understood that his goals for the students were far more than academic. His gifted music teacher understood this well. She was striving to have every parent attend the school’s Christmas music program. She requested risers so every face could be seen by the parents.
Central office had no funds. We discussed the situation. We decided our Christmas present to each other would be the $500 for the risers for a teacher who clearly understood Harold’s goals. When the lumber company unloaded the supplies in the gymnasium, the custodian made inquiry. He subsequently came every evening to work with Harold until the project was completed.
A young family man has been among the leaders trying to move the cause of the homeless forward.
A businesswoman who was mercifully saved from the 14th floor of a World Trade Center building on 9/11 gave up her career and has devoted her life to helping Lawrence citizens in need.
The gentleman who is currently washing dishes for the homeless each Lord’s Day, has assumed his responsibility over 1,000 times already. He visits the elderly as well.
A young boy cared for an elderly couple’s yard for several years, and he refused compensation.
A social worker developed a club for youth where the children would be involved creatively.
There were families who voluntarily taught international students and foreign professors’ wives how to speak English and welcomed the families into their homes so people from foreign lands could get the feel of what it is like to be an American.
Consider the endless people who have worked with Habitat for Humanity and the individuals and businesses who have made financial sacrifices to help bring these homes into being.
Think of various ministries and programs that reach out to meet the needs of others.
You know of others who live the admonition to “love your neighbor.”
We live in Missouri now. When people in other states inquire, “Where did you live?,” it is with the humblest price that we respond. “We once lived in Lawrence.
— Harold and Mary Siegrist are long-time Lawrence residents who have moved to Malden, Mo., to live with their daughter.