In an emotion-filled news conference that was truly from the heart, Krystal Simon, Chief Development Officer Of Barnabas Foundation, shared the true passion for their cause all the way at the top. And what organization would not be overwhelmed with the highly publicized gift from Cole and Heidi Hamels. Along with Chief Executive Officer Jason Brawner, Krystal gave a heartfelt testimony of what this gift truly means to them. “This Christmas, Cole and Heidi Hamels have given us a gift; and it’s a gift of possibility,” Krystal stated as she tried to hold back tears.
Jason shared Krystal’s sentiment about the magnitude of such a donation, which he said was the largest single donation in their history. “We are so honored that they partnered with us in providing a brighter future for those that we serve,” he said, after sharing his first encounter with Cole six months prior to the announcement.
Jason also shared a statement from Cole Hamels, who was unable to attend (along with Heidi) due to a family obligation. In the statement, Cole explained how he and Heidi had planned on making this their ‘forever home’ and intended to ‘put down roots in the Ozarks’. But when Cole’s career path shifted after being traded to the Texas Rangers (from the team in which he broke into the Majors with, the Philadelphia Phillies), he had to decide to let his dream house go. But the generous soul that is Cole chose to leave a legacy, rather than turn a profit.
“We love all that Southwest Missouri represents,” Cole stated, “family, values, and making memories in the great outdoors.” He went on to say, “After careful consideration, Heidi and I made the difficult decision to relocate our family to our current home in Dallas. A piece of us will always be in the area, but with a new legacy and vision.”
The 32,000-square-foot mansion with over 100 acres of land is a resource the Barnabas Foundation has left open to use, according to Brawner, for “all possibilities, as it relates to our mission. Prior to the news conference, leadership at Barnabas had made it clear that this donation will be used to take the next step in their development. Brawner said when the donation was first announced, “Our mission is to change lives through disability ministries, and we’ve been strategically looking for ways to expand out ministries outside of a summer camp.”
The Barnabas Foundation, before the donation, had two properties dedicated to providing life-changing experiences with special needs and chronic illnesses. The camp is a Christ-centered ministry that has hosted over 75,000 campers and missionaries over the last 22 years.
But, much like the inspiration that cancer patient Lauren Hauschild provided, which ignited the flame that became Camp Barnabas for the first time back in 1996, Krystal Simon was today’s inspiration. Unable to hold back her emotion any longer, Krystal’s feelings poured out in this moving statement:
“However, today isn’t about the property or the generous people that so graciously gave it to us. We (looking over at Jason, as her voice cracked with emotion) get to say it’s for the amazing people that we so passionately serve twelve months of the year.”
At that moment, the distraction of the dollar figure, or the high-profile names involved, and the pristine beauty of The Hamels property was out of the spotlight. And Krystal, with an obvious connection to the human beings that she serves so humbly, placed the spotlight on the people she adores. This is a moment, at the most special time of year, that cannot be adequately captured in words. Bigger than the giving of any dollar amount that a person of seemingly limitless resources can provide, nothing is larger than the human soul that God provided us so that we may give of our whole self to others…just as he is trying to give to us, if we will receive Him. And it is very apparent that Krystal and the leaders give all of themselves to what they do.
If you would like to be one of those souls that give of their time, there is plenty of room for more volunteers, as people connecting with kids of special need and chronic illness have always been a cherished commodity that no price can be placed upon. If this inspires you to be that person, I would encourage you to click here and discover how you can help the kids at Barnabas. Through giving, we discover what our real calling is. And that calling is to serve others.
(Chris Gaines is an author and Editor-In-Chief of Patriot Gaines. He resides in the Cedar Valley of Northern Iowa, with his wife, Jennifer, and two kids, Patrick & Megan)
Photo Credits: Getty Images & Camp Barnanbas