The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 22, 2013

Officials at Servants of Mary want to raise $500,000 to maintain facility

By WARREN DILLAWAY - warren@starbeacon.com
Staff Writer

WINDSOR TOWNSHIP — Officials at the Servants of Mary Center for Peace hope to raise $500,000 during the next year to improve the site and provide resources to maintain the facility that was built in 1995, said Clay Neesham of Legacy Fundraising, who is coordinating the campaign.

The site includes the largest statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the world, Neesham said. The statue is located on the edge of a reflecting pond that provides a unique vantage point for visitors.

“There are things going on there all the time,” Neesham said. He said tour buses come from Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York and other parts of Ohio.

He said there is a strong Mexican connection to the property because of the statue, he said.

Ed and Pat Heinz founded the site and still live on the property, Neesham said. “They were pretty much supporting the center themselves,” he said.

“Sometimes a bus load of people will just show up,” he said of the popularity of the facility that includes a banquet hall, chapel and other attractions, Neesham said.

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadaloupe was recently celebrated at the site with approximately 50 people in attendance.

Neesham said there is a local database of potential donors but the campaign will be wider than that. “We are contacting foundations all over the country,” he said.

Neesham said the facility banquet hall is available for rent.

“We will accept gifts “in kind.” We had a a landscaping group that came in and did an excellent job,” Neesham said. He said the center is a 501C3 organization which means donations are tax deductible.

The new facilities would include Stations of the Cross and a new chapel, Neesham said. He said people can donate, or receive more information, at ServantsofMary.org.