Lancaster County businessman John Byler lived through a fire two years ago at his Manheim Township home.
Grateful for the community response and support he received, Byler, who owns Byler Management Associates, wanted to pay it forward. So he is donating $50,000 to the American Red Cross.
“The Lord has been good to me, and I think we should help other people out,” said Byler, whose company owns Penn Cinema in Lititz, several golf courses and numerous apartment buildings. "The fire in my home was devastating, and losing personal stuff was hard. I did have great insurance which allowed me to quickly recover, but most people do not."
Byler added that all the disasters and fires lately made him want to donate where it would do the most good. He encourages others to do the same.
“I think that if you are fortunate, you should share it,” he said.
In Central Pennsylvania, during the first week of July, 65 people, including 30 children, were supported by the Red Cross after six home fires. In Hummelstown, an apartment fire displaced 11 families, 18 adults and 16 children, who were cared for by the Red Cross.
Byler “had seen in the paper all the house fires we’d been responding to, and he wanted to help out," said Kathy Smyser, regional communications manager for the organization. "He wanted to inspire others in the business community to do so as well.”
Semi-retired, Byler has turned over the reins of the business to his son Jonathan, who continues the organization’s philanthropic outlook.
Red Cross contributions may be sent to the American Red Cross, 430 W. Orange St., Lancaster, PA 17603, or to any one of the local offices. Donors can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org or www.redcross.org/centralpa.