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Giving Spirit

20 years of celebrating the spirit of Omaha

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ONE YEAR AGO what was to have been a celebratory milestone marking this magazine’s 20th anniversary became a time for recovery and renewal. At the time plans were underway to initiate a year long celebration of 20 years of service and cooperation with the philanthropic community in the greater Omaha region. Instead, the small, local publishing house found itself reevaluating its mission and vision and initiating the process of rebuilding its infrastructure and, in many ways, starting over.

A January 7th, 2010 middle-of-the-night fire destroyed the offices of ALH Publications, along with three neighboring businesses in the Boardwalk mall. No one was hurt, but ironically, a magazine whose niche for 20 years has been chronicling the charitable scene suddenly found itself in need. With a vanguard of long-standing, committed supporters rallying around it, the ALH team regrouped and forged through 2010 with a more profound sense of gratitude, determination and rededication to fulfill its mission to “inform, educate and inspire.”
The night of the fire was one of the coldest on record.

As publisher Andy Hoig and editor Rob Killmer surveyed the smoldering devastation while firefighters pumped water,  Hoig saw 20 years of efforts at partnering with “Omaha at its Best!” potentially going up in smoke.
 

“I was crying,” said Hoig. “It wasn’t really crying for me. Fire is such a powerful thing and when you’re watching things burn there’s an emotional connection.”
 

“I just remember thinking, ‘You know, this would be a really respectful way to end this if I wanted to. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, maybe this is a sign.’ Within 24 hours I knew that was not one of the reasons this happened, because people just started coming out of the woodwork.”
 

The outpouring of support began while the fire still raged and news reports leaked out. “It wasn’t more than an hour after the fire began that I started getting text messages,” said Hoig. “I got phone calls and emails. People genuinely wanted to help.”

 

 

 

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