My friends Leo and Helga met in Hohenschwangau, Bavaria in 1945, the same year CARE was founded to send lifesaving CARE Packages to desperate survivors of the Second World War. Their love story began when Leo, a U.S. Army soldier, walked into the small photography shop owned by Helga’s uncle. “How many prints, please?” asked Helga, who was working behind the counter. The two became friends and, after Leo returned to Ohio, pen pals.
In her letters to Leo, Helga writes movingly about the hunger she and so many people around her experienced in the aftermath of the war, and how opening the CARE Packages of food sent by Leo was like opening presents on Christmas morning.
While exchanging letters and CARE Packages for more than two years, Leo and Helga fell in love. She moved to the United States and, on August 7, 1948, they married. My colleague Kate Crosby and visited them in Colorado Springs in July.
I met them by accident. A deceased friend of theirs, Maura Bean, left money to CARE in her will. One of Maura’s relatives gave us Leo’s name so we could ask him about Maura. At the end of a long conversation about Maura, he asked me if I had a minute to hear about his connection to CARE. I’m very glad I did.
We’re working a big project with Leo and Helga that we won’t finish for a while. In the meantime, I wanted to acknowledge their anniversary.
If you have a second to leave them a happy anniversary message, we’ll make sure they get it.