A legacy of kindness and giving

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True acts of selfless generosity are difficult to find. These are the kinds of acts that involve giving without getting — expecting not even so much as a thank you in return.

This kind of philanthropy was demonstrated on Friday, when it was announced that a local couple through their estate had left the Humane Society of Southwest Washington a $100,000 gift.

Donald C. and Jean M. Lewis, both lifelong Camas-Washougal residents, were unknown to officials at the Southwest Washington Humane Society before word of this donation came down the pike. While Donald passed away in March 2001, Jean just recently died in April 2009. Her love of animals is even reflected in her obituary, so maybe it’s not too surprising that this woman made the decision to make such an incredible donation to a charitable agency that works to help some of the most deserving members of our society.

As it turns out, the timing of this gift was perfect, as the Humane Society had recently been working to pay down a $900,000 debt it incurred when a new facility was built on Southeast 192nd Avenue, near Camas’ western border with Vancouver. Between the Lewis’ contribution, and incredibly significant contributions brought in during the organization’s recent dinner and auction (including a $400,000 contribution from a Vancouver-area couple), that debt is now fully paid. This alone allows the Humane Society of Southwest Washington to focus on its core mission of not only helping animals, but providing education with the goal of creating a community that treats its animals with love and respect.

It’s easy to find stories and news reports about the many sad, tragic and difficult situations that happen in our society every day. So, it’s refreshing to hear when the kinder side of human nature is displayed.

Although Jean and Donald Lewis are not here to take any kind of credit, they have truly left a legacy of caring and kindness behind.