Doug Rentz  |  
Helping Hands

During the holidays it’s easy to wrap ourselves into the commerciality of the season. From shopping for everyone on your list to a never-ending smorgasbord of tasty treats, what can get lost in today’s materialistic, hustle-and-bustle culture is the desire to give back.

At Garmann/Miller, its office Wellness Committee wanted to focus on more than just physical health this Christmas. The group invited its teammates to help acquire goods for two local philanthropies—C.A.L.L. Food Pantry in Celina and St. Marys’ Agape Ministries Food Pantry—putting scripture into action that, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

“This is the season of giving, and there are so many people in need,” said committee member Elaine Ahrns. “We wanted to help put food on shelves and do something more for area families.”

Christmas isn’t the only time of year GMAE employees lend a helping hand. For example, Ahrns, GMAE’s human resources manager, is a Eucharistic minister at Holy Redeemer Parish in New Bremen and is busy landscaping the pastoral grounds of the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics throughout the year. 

Many of the firm’s 57 employees are involved in philanthropic groups focused on supporting charitable needs and helping shape the communities we serve. Let’s meet a few …

Cindy Pottkotter, an architectural designer, is active at Celina’s First Church of God. She participates in the annual Angel Tree program, where she donates gifts for families based on a child’s age group. She also has been involved with the Shoebox Project and Feeding America’s BackPack Program, which assembles easy-to-prepare meals at local food banks so children get proper nutrition on weekends.

Ryan Heitkamp, also an architectural designer, plays a key role in fundraising for the Fort Recovery Athletic Boosters and Fort Recovery Community Club. The boosters’ mission is to support and help foster the success of high school athletes within the village, while the community organization focuses on fundraising for families in need and academic scholarships.

Lee Westgerdes in the engineering department likes to give time to his men’s society at Church of the Most Holy Trinity in his hometown of Bryant, Indiana. He actively promotes fundraisers such as ham raffles and fish fries that help maintain the church and offset operating expenses. He also has generously participated in St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving events to make a difference in helping fund childhood cancer research.

During this season of giving, let’s together make Christmas a bit brighter for those in need.