Attorney H. Patrick Weber took the unusual step last December of calling his friend, Glenn Huber, chairman of Shriners Burns Hospital in Cincinnati, late on a Friday afternoon.
Weber had some good news he wanted to share – one of his clients wanted to make a donation.
“He asked me if I knew the federal ID number for the hospital because a client wanted to make a donation,” Huber said.
“I told him I couldn’t remember my phone number let alone the hospital’s federal ID number.”
Then Huber dropped the amount – a woman, who asked to remain anonymous – was leaving $10 million to Shriners Hospital, known nationally for its treatment of burn victims.”He asked if I was sitting down before he told me the amount,” Huber said. “I tell you, I got chills down my spine just thinking about what $10 million could do for all of the children at the hospital.”
Huber said he has received no explanation about why the woman decided to leave the money to the hospital.
Weber will be on hand today for a brief ceremony to acknowledge the gift to the 39-year-old hospital in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Avondale.
“That is an extraordinary gift,” said Beth Reiter, a spokeswoman for the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.
Indeed, it surpasses two other substantial contributions that the Shriners has received in the past: $8 million from the family of the late Max E. Krause, and $6.5 million from Nobel Earl Murphy, according to Pat Harrison, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
Harrison said the gift was not designated for any specific purpose and can be used in any way the hospital chooses.
A spokeswoman for the Greater Cincinnati Health Council said her agency, whose members include hospitals in the region, doesn’t keep track of donations to its member institutions.
But Reiter said the largest single gift that her foundation has received was a $13.2 million donation from professor Richard and Lucile Durrell in 2000. Durrell taught geology at the University of Cincinnati from 1946 until 1985.
Shriners is one of 22 hospitals in the Shriners Hospital for Children system, a network offering orthopedic, spinal cord, and burn-injury care to children. Shriners is supported entirely by private donations and no payment is ever sought from families or the government.
In a separate ceremony today, Randy Dieter of Westwood, former graphics editor of The Kentucky Post, will be recognized for work he did 37 years ago when he was working as a photographer in Evansville, Ind.
Dieter took a photo of a Shriner carrying a crippled girl and her crutches that has been used by the Shriners throughout the country as an “editorial without words” about the charitable organization.
The photo was published in a Sunday edition of the Evansville Courier and Press, which, like The Post, is owned by Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps.
By Greg Paeth
Post staff reporter