Thank you for support

What started as an open question that I asked in an August branch meeting: “What can we do to help impact the Newton community before the end of the year?” turned into an all-out team project that spanned the last five months.

Several employees came with suggestions and multiple contacts that were made but time continued to tick away without an organization that was willing to partner with the bank to make a difference. In late August our Universal Banker Joey Palich brought up that his mother, Teri Palich, works for St. Francis Community Services in Wichita, and while her department is separate from the St. Francis group that covers the Newton area, she was willing to help us cut through the red tape and reach out to the leadership in Newton to gauge their level of interest in starting a partnership with the bank.

After a month of discussion and planning we settled on our plan to set up an angel tree both inside the bank AND outside so that we could allow all of the residents in the area, whether they were Bank of the West clients or not, to help with the mission of getting each foster child a gift. A gift that they themselves requested.

I did not realize the impact that this would have on the people in the area. We have had such an out-pouring of support--which at times has brought the staff and the participants to tears in the lobby of the bank. One day, a woman from Moundridge and her two daughters stopped in to get four angels from the tree, spent the day shopping here in Newton and brought back what looked like a couple hundred dollars’ worth of toys and clothes in gift bags ready to be delivered. Just watching the faces of that family and seeing the understanding that those kids (9 and 5 years old) had of what they were doing leads me to believe that this Mom is raising her girls to think not only of themselves but of those that may not have anything--during a time of year that we all should be thankful for the gifts that God has given to us.

 May God bless all of you and may you have a VERY Merry Christmas and THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!


— Brian Donley,  Branch Manager of Bank of the West, Newton