At the beginning of December, Herbert Hahn hit it big at a casino. The 98-year-old wouldn’t say how much he won, but he said it was a “lucky day.”
The great-grandfather, retired postal carrier and World War II veteran is still very much independent. He walks with a cane but hardly leans on it.
“I’m pretty blessed,” he said of his health.
The lucky day in the casino made him feel “doubly blessed.”
So he sent a chunk of his winnings to Goodfellows, The World-Herald’s charity. Since moving to Omaha from Mapleton, Iowa, in 2011, he had been reading the stories of the organization’s donors and recipients, but he never had donated.
With his check for $200, Hahn included a note explaining his lucky day and that he felt “compelled to share” with a worthy cause.
Goodfellows directs all donated money to providing one-time emergency assistance, holiday meal vouchers or clothing to local people in need. No donated money is used by The World-Herald for administrative expenses.
In the corner of a door in his apartment, Hahn has tacked up a birthday card. The cover has a large “100” in bubble letters, but because it was for his 98th birthday, someone wrote “minus 2” under the number. Hahn figures he’ll keep it tacked up on the door for another two years.
The apartment hasn’t been quite the same since his wife suffered a stroke in 2012, just after their 65th wedding anniversary. She died a year later.
Hahn keeps himself busy now by playing the game Sequence with his neighbors, often on boards he has made himself.
Sometimes he watches the World War II documentaries he has stacked next to his TV and remembers those years he fought in the European theater, from 1942 to 1945. But he would rather be with friends or family.
Hahn was out with his daughter on the day he stopped at the casino.
It’s not often you can make a “nice withdrawal” from a place like that, he said. But even if he doesn’t have a repeat win, he plans to donate to Goodfellows again next year.
“I was glad to contribute,” Hahn said. “It’s a great organization.”