It’s not often that one man can write words that inspire a movement that lasts more than a century.

And it’s not often that a charity lasts that long.

But 101 years ago today, Lawrence Hager Sr., general manager of the Owensboro Inquirer, planned to write a short story about the St. Nicholas Girls’ sixth annual Christmas party for needy children.

But he quickly learned that the women who had started that party in 1911 were older now, with families of their own.

They didn’t have time to put the party together that year.

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Hager went back to his office and sat down to write a story, saying that there would be no party for the children that year. 

But, for some reason, he didn’t write that story.

Instead, he asked readers to send in their donations as membership in a “Goodfellows Club” to carry on the Christmas party tradition.

And 101 years later, Goodfellows in the community continue to do just that. 

When Hager arrived at the old Grand Theatre at what’s now Veterans Boulevard and St. Ann Street before the party was to begin at 10 a.m. that Christmas day, he found some children already there, waiting.

Boys in short pants huddled against the walls of the theater, shrinking against the icy wind.

Hager immediately made some telephone calls and soon a merchant arrived with a load of long winter underwear for the children.

And ever since, Goodfellows has been more than a Christmas party. 

In 1929, as the Great Depression began, Hager brought the owner of a local clothing store to the Goodfellows party to take measurements to make sure children left the party with properly fitted new clothes.

The shoe and stocking fund also began that year.

The need for the Goodfellows Club is as great today as it was in 1916 and 1929.

To help, send donations to Goodfellows Club, Messenger-Inquirer, Box 1480, Owensboro, KY 42302, by bringing contributions to the newspaper office at 1401 Frederica St. or online at

Goodfellows Roll Call, Dec. 9, 2017

Previously reported … $68,188.53

In memory of Marsha Kasey, Susan

Kasey, and Tom Kasey by Jerry

Kasey … $300

In memory of Bella Rose and Violet

Dawn Hocker by the Hocker family … $100

In memory of Blake Roberts … $100

In memory of Frank “Chigger” Rubel

by Jacquie Miles … $50

In loving memory of Momma and

Daddy by Carol Taylor … $50

Total as of Dec. 9, 2017 … $68,788.53


A listing in the Dec. 8 Roll Call

should have read :

In memory of Tom and Martha

Laswell and Joseph and Genevieve

Suwanski by Janet and Rich

Suwanski … $100

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