Carrie Bertellotti said her son Paul would be celebrating his third Christmas this year.
The baby had a congenital defect and died not long after he was born. As Bertellotti grieved his death, she said, she became “aware of how many good people are here in Omaha.”
“When I was in my time of need, there were many people who reached out to me and offered love and support,” she said. “I’ve lived in Omaha for 20 years, but it’s only over the last couple of years that I’ve become very proud of the people that are here.”
Not long after Bertellotti’s son died, she lost her younger brother as well.
“In a one-year span, we had a lot of tragedy in our family, and we found that giving to others was a wonderful way to process our grief and move through our grief,” she said. “We know that the people we have lost would be proud of us doing good things for others.”
Bertellotti said she enjoyed reading World-Herald articles about people who donated to the Goodfellows campaign. She and her husband, Robert, decided to make a donation in honor of their son. The couple also have a 7-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son.
“I think the Omaha people are a giving people, and I think that this is an amazing place to live, and so I’m very happy to be able to honor my son by offering a donation for his memory,” Bertellotti said.
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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.