Baumhower: Hope, humanity and the HayesWritten by Jeremy Baumhower | | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Nov. 12, in West Toledo, less than one mile from where I was raised, three innocent voices were silenced. Paige, Logan and Madalyn Hayes were stolen from the world, in such a heinous way that it brought national media attention to Toledo. The manner of their departure and the circumstances surrounding the deaths will not be addressed here, because it is too heartbreaking, too grim and too dark. These words are to focus on the journey ahead.
My biggest fear of having a larger family, with four children, is the knock at the door or the late night phone call, where a police officer starts the conversation with, “I am sorry to be the one who tells you, but there has been an accident.” My fear became a real nightmare for Chris and Mandy Hayes of Sylvania as they learned the tragic end of three of the lives they brought into this world. To lose one child is devastating; to lose three is unimaginable.
What does one do in a time like this, when your neighbor, your brother, your fellow man is living the worst possible scenario? We act. We band together and we change the focus from tragedy to the future. No words, actions, prayers or miracles will ever bring those three beautiful faces back to us, but we can change the lives of those who remain.
The hope in this story is that two of the Hayes children are alive today. Although evil claimed a huge portion of a family’s existence, of its dreams, it did not win. The Hayes were blessed to have five children and we as a community are blessed that Blake, 9, and his baby brother Jayden, 10 months, will get a second chance. The hope is that something positive can come in one’s darkest moment.
If the Hayes’ tragedy has touched you, made you pause or shed a tear and you wanted to express your condolences, let’s show them the power of our community. Let us show this family and show the world the power and the beauty of humanity.
I reached out to the Hayes family through a mutual friend, and asked them if we could help. I wanted to make a positive difference in a horrific situation. Toledo Free Press and the Hayes’ neighbors have opened a College Scholarship Fund for Blake and Jayden Hayes. This family will take years, if not decades to regroup and move forward with their lives. The least and yet most powerful thing we can do is to eliminate the burden of cost of a higher education,for those siblings who survived.
The Hayes Children Scholarship Fund was designed to show a grieving family the power of our community, the compassion that Toledoans are known for and the promise of a brighter future. Visit any area Huntington Bank location and donate $1 for every child in your family. If you are like me and have been blessed to have four beautiful, healthy children, donate $4. You can of course give as much as you like; it’s the amount of people who donate that will provide a small beacon of hope, in a time where no light exists.
Three days after the Hayes say goodbye to Paige, Logan and Madalyn, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. Many Facebookers are participating in the “Give Thanks Challenge,” where every day in November, they post a small “Thank You” to someone or something important in their life. Instead of posting words on a web page, why don’t we make a difference and show our thanks by making a small donation to a family looking for any reason to be thankful?
Please join me and donate $1 for every child in your life to the Hayes Children Scholarship Fund, at any local Huntington Bank location. $1 is the going rate for the Tooth Fairy or an item on a “Value Menu” — it is not the size of the individual donation, but the amount of those donating that will express Toledo’s deepest condolences. As Chris and Mandy Hayes face every parent’s biggest fear, let them not face them alone.
One final request: please give an extra hug, and whisper an extra “I Love You,” to your babies tonight. Because some parents can not.