Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

Helping Others: The Greatest Investment

Beverly Harden


When was the last time you truly helped someone? Everyday we pass people who are hurting, struggling, and in need of help. Sometimes a little act of kindness can go a long way in making someone’s day, week, month.

In Beverly Harden’s case, it was a year. In 1975, she went through a divorce leaving her to raise her four children. A couple that lived across the street, the Spradlings, saw the need of their neighbor and acted. One night a week for one full year, Mrs. Spradling would make a home cooked meal for the family of five, and Mr. Spradling would deliver it to Beverly and her children.

"I realized then how much someone’s kindness could help someone else," said Beverly. "I decided that somehow I would pass on the kindness and give back one day."

Born in Nebraska to Czechoslovakian parents, Beverly grew up in Kansas. Her father was an excellent auto mechanic and her mother was a teacher and published author and received many awards for one of her children’s books. Beverly and her siblings were inspired by their mother’s love of learning and writing, as they all three became teachers. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy from Texas Women’s University, and later a master’s degree in reading from the University of Oklahoma, Beverly taught elementary students in the Norman Public School system until she retired in 1997.

When Beverly’s children were in college she would continually tell herself, "next month will be easier." The bills were many times overwhelming for the single mother of four. "To me it is a blessing that the time has come where it is not a chore to live by what I make." Beverly said she could not have made it without the church. The Norman resident has attended First Baptist, Norman, since 1963. To other single mothers she says, "As long as there is hope you can put one foot in front of the other. I don’t know how I could have done it without the hope I have in Christ.

Beverly knows the importance of estate planning and contacted the Foundation to establish her revocable trust. "I didn’t want my kids to have to deal with anything. I wanted to use someone outside the family and someone trustworthy," she said.

A cause that has been very meaningful to Beverly during her lifetime is Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and their Hope Pregnancy Centers, and she knew when she established the trust that she wanted to benefit them. In addition to being a teacher, mother, and grandmother, Beverly had a personal experience that motivated her to give to OBHC. A little over two years ago, her granddaughter died suddenly after giving birth just days before. Beverly’s tiny great granddaughter was left to be raised by her father, who was serving in the military. The young father moved into Beverly’s rental house next door and she, along with other family and friends, helped the young man get back on his feet. Beverly cherished the opportunity to help out in raising the new baby. It was this experience that inspired Beverly to give to other babies who may not be so fortunate and are in need of someone to love them.

"If one little baby can survive because of the help I have given, I would feel it was the greatest investment," she said.

Beverly recently sold the rental house after her grandson-in-law and great granddaughter relocated. She "gave twice" to OBHC by tithing off the sale and establishing an endowment trust. "It was a given--just like a tithe from my paycheck," she said.

Beverly is content in knowing that she has planned for the future and will be helping children for many years to come. "I thought it was important to give to something after I was gone--something that was important to me while I was alive."

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