The path Dave Huelsmann and Barb St. John traveled to Omaha was a circuitous one.
They met about 23 years ago when she was the director of admissions at a hospital in Kankakee, Illinois, and he was the hospital’s new director of the lab and, later, radiology.
As a newbie director, Dave was assigned a mentor, who happened to hold “Girls’ Night Out” sessions with her hospital friends. He didn’t really meet the membership requirements, but the mentor invited Dave to one of the nights out.
“That’s where I really got to know my now-wife,” he said.
After about three years, Dave got a job as executive director of some labs in Manchester, New Hampshire. He and Barb were just dating, but she said, “I’m going with you” and sold her house.
About three years after that, in January 2000, Dave took a job at Omaha’s Methodist Hospital as the director of the laboratory. Barb found work as office coordinator of a family medicine clinic.
Dave retired nine years ago, and Barb retired the year after. They decided to stay in Omaha.
Dave had donated to The World-Herald’s Goodfellows charity before, but this year he told Barb that he wanted to donate in celebration of their wedding anniversary. The two had been married 17 years as of June, so he suggested they donate $10 for every year they have been married. Barb was fine with that.
Dave said he recognizes that the newspaper pays the overhead and that all the donated money is distributed to people in need. The couple also donate to Food Bank of the Heartland, the Salvation Army and the Open Door Mission.
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In 1938, Omahans created “Mile o’ Dimes” to raise funds for The World-Herald’s Goodfellows charity. Board members behind the effort are pictured here.
Ray Messler on Dec. 15, 1938.
Goodfellows donors Burdock Fredericton and Brownie Walters made up the Cornhusker Orchestra in 1939.
Betty Litman and Ed Reinhardt on Dec. 1, 1941. Rotary Cleaners had a "Good Fellows" kitty for whenever an employee lost his temper and said something he shouldn't.
Officers of the Foreign Wars contribute to the “Mile o’ Dimes” for The World-Herald’s Goodfellows charity as “Miss Goodfellows” looks on.
Children gather to sing carols for the Goodfellows fund in 1944.
Bill looks at pictures of toys in a catalog.
Members of Beta Sigma Phi, a non-academic sorority, donate to Goodfellows in 1945.
Bill, pictured here in 1945, is a beneficiary of The World-Herald's Goodfellows charity.
On Dec. 7, 1947, two boys look forward to Santa's arrival.
Members of the Omaha Knights hockey team donate to The World-Herald’s Goodfellows fund in 1948. The charity started in the late 1880s and has raised more than $16 million since record-keeping began in 1945.
Gloria and Alfred write a letter to Santa Claus on Dec. 21, 1950.
Linda waits for Santa Claus on Dec. 3, 1951.
A Goodfellows Christmas card from Nov. 14, 1952.
Kenneth and his little sister look at toy ads.
Mary meets Santa Claus on Dec. 7, 1958.
Employees at the South Omaha Post Office urge people to donate to Goodfellows in 1962. From left, they are are John Cupich, Ray Meloccaro and Postmaster John Munnelly.
Restaurateurs Ross Nisi and Eli Caniglia, with two young friends, celebrate a donation to Goodfellows in 1963. The gift was from The Strip Association, a trade group made up of people who ran restaurants on 72nd Street from Dodge to Center Streets.
Pinky, a Nebraska Kennel Club champion, delivers the club’s $200 donation to Goodfellows in 1964.
Mrs. Max Sacks and Mrs. Mike Montello from The World-Herald's Goodfellows charity fill a bag held by Mike Montello, Sokol Lanes manager, dressed as Santa, on Christmas Day, 1966.
World-Herald employee Tim Daughtery accepts donations from James Wightman, Alan Johnson and Michael Henderson from the Gene Eppley Boys Club on Dec. 20, 1967.
From left, Mrs. David Brown, Mrs. Francis Walker and Mrs. Donald Rose, a brigadier and director of Women's Services for the Salvation Army, celebrate the opening of the Salvation Army and the World-Herald Good Fellows Toy Shop. Each day until Christmas, parents of needy families may select gifts for their children. Parents coming to the shop at 1561 Capitol Ave. must demonstrate need. Photo from an edition of The World-Herald on Dec. 21, 1972.
Jermaine, pictured here on Nov. 24, 1982, is one of the beneficiaries of The World-Herald's Goodfellows organization.