|Published December 21, 2004|
ANTHON, Iowa -- Home and business owners in this northwest Iowa town of 650 people were a little shocked at the Christmas gift they got from retired farmer Richard Hamann and his wife, Donna.
The Hamanns doled out $25,000 to pay the town's electricity bills - all due on Dec. 25.
Hamann, 75, sees the gift as returning a good deed.
``The Lord has been very good to us and so have the people of this community, so I always thought we ought to be doing something in return if we could,'' he said Monday.
Residents said they were surprised and grateful.
``I just thought it was great,'' said Beulah Sands, 64, a clerk at a local convenience store. ``I haven't talked to anyone who didn't appreciate it. It was a wonderful thing for him to do.''
Sands said the Hamanns' gift saved her more than $50.
A stack of thank you cards and letters sits in a bundle on Richard Hamann's desk in an office at his home.
One letter came from Joyce Sevening, who wrote that her sister, Fay Miller, is an Anthon resident who has been in poor health in recent months. She said news of the gift brought a tear to her eye.
``It makes me proud that such people as you exist in small towns in Iowa,'' wrote Sevening, who provided no return address. ``It makes me feel good that someone would go out of their way to help another in any way possible.''© Copyright 2004 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.