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The Mission of Service
Published Tuesday, May 24, 2011
On a recent visit, Wilma and Bob Hauptman talked about their relationship with Child Saving Institute. We had only just sat down in their lovely apartment, when Wilma, her bright blue eyes sparkling, began talking animatedly about their long association with the agency.
"Why would Bob and I want to be part of Child Saving Institute?" she asked first thing. "Well Bob was Chairman of the Board of Directors when they were still an orphanage on Emile Street, and we have watched it proudly as it has grown to be such a necessary and vital part of our city and our community."
Four pages of notes later, no questions had been asked, but Wilma—with Bob’s occasional comment—was on a roll. Like so many CSI supporters, it turns out the long-time Omaha residents (they met while attending South High School together nearly 70 years ago), first got involved with the agency through the Christian Church (DOC). Though they recently moved to a beautiful retirement community just northwest of Omaha, Wilma continues to lead the bible study class at her church in the city, and they both continue being enthusiastic supporters of CSI.
"We originally got involved because it was part of our church’s mission, but it is part of our personal mission, too—people helping people, serving those who are powerless and have no voice—serving the children. Though the term 'child saving' is really a bit of a misnomer because the organization serves God's older children, too, like the Young Parents Program," she mused.
The president of Occidental Savings & Loan for more than two decades following a successful real estate career, Bob not only chaired CSI's board, he also served in leadership positions for numerous other organizations, including the Omaha Better Business Bureau, the Lions Club, and the Kiwanis, to name a few. Wilma also volunteered while raising their three young sons and spending time developing her art. A gifted painter who has worked in a variety of mediums through the years, she has concentrated on doing water colors in the last 15 years. Now she turns her exquisitely designed paintings into much-cherished greetings cards, each bearing a striking, original scene.
Both 87, the Hauptmans recently celebrated their 66th anniversary together and delight in the company of their children, 9 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren between the ages of 2 and 7.
Still, their focus turns to others less fortunate. "The reason Child Saving Institute has survived so long is because of its leadership and because they have always been focused on meeting the changing needs of the community as time has gone by," Wilma concluded.
"They have always been relevant," Bob added quietly.
"Yes! Relevant," Wilma confirmed. "We've always watched their growth closely because we've known they were leading the way."