Ringing in the air: Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign returns

Published 7:22 am Saturday, November 18, 2017

The familiar tinkling bells of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign began ringing through the brisk air in front of Danville’s Kroger Friday morning during the organization’s kickoff event.

Betty Baker was second in line to ring the Salvation Army bell Friday morning during a kick off event in front of Kroger. (Robin Hart/robin.hart@amnews.com)

This year, Mike Russell of Hustonville was the very first volunteer bell-ringer of the Yuletide season. Russell said this year, he was ringing in honor of his late friend, Greg Thomas.

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Russell said he began his tradition nine years ago to honor his sister’s late husband. And he has volunteered every year since to ring in honor of someone he has lost. Although many volunteers represent a business or organization as a group, Russell said he rings the bell solely in honor of someone close to him, such as a friend or family member.

“I’ll be doing this as long as I’m able,” Russell said.

A festive atmosphere celebrating the Salvation Army’s annual kettle drive also featured a brass ensemble, composed of a few of the organization’s members — including Captain Patrick Richmond and his wife, Major Carey Richmond — playing traditional Christmas carols.

Betty Baker of Danville, an advisory board member of the Salvation Army, warmly greeted friends and shoppers when she took over bell-ringing. Commenting on her navy blue holiday sweatshirt, she said, “It’s my angel tree sweater. I’ll wear it until I find something else, or until it turns light blue.”

The Salvation Army’s goal is to raise $110,000 this year, which is the same as last year, said Carey Richmond. This amount will be used to to support the organization’s services in five counties, including Boyle, Casey, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties.

Not only does Captain Patrick Richmond lead the local Salvation Army, he also plays tuba. (Robin Hart/robin.hart@amnews.com)

Carey Richmond said this Christmas the Salvation Army will be assisting 190 families, which includes 422 children. They will also be able to supplement other agencies, she said, which could raise the number to about 500 children.

Patrick Richmond said, “We could not do this without the communities’ support,” and more volunteer bell ringers in the five counties served are still needed.

To schedule a time to volunteer, call (859) 236-4473.