Gift reflects soldier's love for children

By Kim Plummer Krull
Pvt. Michelle Witmer died in Iraq, but her love for children continues to live through a matching gift to Bethesda Lutheran Homes and Services, Inc.witmer
“Michelle had a special place in her heart for the disabled orphans in Baghdad,” said Paul Pretzel of Tomahawk, Wis., whose 20-year-old granddaughter made national headlines in April as the National Guard’s first woman killed in combat and one of three Wisconsin sisters serving in Iraq.
While a member of the Guard’s military police, Michelle Witmer volunteered at a Baghdad orphanage.  Paul and Karen Pretzel, members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Tomahawk, highlighted their granddaughter’s concern for little ones by making a gift to Bethesda, an organization Paul said they knew they could count on “to use the money to help children in need.”
LCMS World Relief and Human Care matched the Pretzels’ gift for a total grant of $2,000 for work with youngsters with developmental disabilities at the Home of New Hope in Santiago, Dominican Republic, which receives support from Bethesda. 
“This check reflects your kindness, love and compassion in remembering the passion Michelle had for the human and spiritual needs of displaced and downtrodden children whose lives were shattered because of war in Iraq,” said Rev. Matthew Harrison, executive director of World Relief and Human Care, in a letter to the Pretzels.
Bethesda, based in Watertown, Wis., provides services and support worldwide to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
To learn more about matching-gift opportunities through LCMS World Relief and Human Care, call (800) 248-1930, Ext. 1380 or 1381; e-mail
Kim Plummer Krull is a freelance writer in St. Louis who writes for LCMS World Relief and Human Care.

Posted Aug. 27, 2004

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