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Rotarians ring bells

On Black Friday, while many others were busy with shopping and eating turkey sandwiches, members of the Silverdale Rotary helped out the local Salvation Army by taking turns ringing the holiday bell outside Macy’s at Kitsap Mall. Here are some of their stories:

“My son, Jonah, 7, and I rang the bell on Black Friday at Macy’s. Earlier in that week, I asked my sons if they wanted to ring the bell so that those in our community. Very quickly, Jonah said he wanted to come. So, on Black Friday, when many were already out shopping and trying to find their best deals, he and I got dressed up warmly, put hot cocoa in our thermos, and drove to the mall. We both enjoyed our time a lot. From the many conversations we had telling people how great the Salvation Army is, how much they do for our community and in general...just having fun. My son would ring the bell, we would tell everyone Merry Christmas and try to grab the door for them. Countless people stopped for conversation. Many asked Jonah why he was out in the cold...many praised him for taking time to help those less fortunate than him...and we loved the chance to serve.”  —  Josh Hinman

“I have rung the bell for the Salvation Army as a Silverdale Rotarian since we started doing it way back when, I don’t remember. My greatest enjoyment while ringing the bell is seeing the young children who are so excited and full of wonderment. I let them ring the bell and they grin from ear to ear.”  —Jack R. Jensen

“I look forward to bell ringing every year.  I take my grandson, George, with me each year as he enjoys watching people put money in the can when he rings the bell. I have seen a lot of people come by and thank us for being out there helping, others we can see digging out change or a dollar way before they arrive to our can. Knowing that we are helping the Salvation Army and saving them money by volunteering is an added bonus. I am always encouraged by the people in our community, that even in these tough times, they can always share something.” — Diane Mayda

“I am a 30 year member of the Rotary Club of Silverdale and I have been ringing the bell at Macy’s since the first year. I always take as many shifts as I can because it is a blast. I bring my boom box and play Christmas music and I bring a thermos full of hot spiced cider. It is flat out fun to interact with all the shoppers. I have learned not to judge who might put some money in the kettle. The poorly dressed and the hip hop guy are just as likely as anyone to show the spirit of sharing and caring.  And I have noticed in the last couple years that it is folding money, not coins, that is going into the kettle. I say thank you to the people of Kitsap County for helping those less fortunate and for giving me a big dose of Christmas cheer.” — Peter Matty

“It was a normal day ringing the bell at Macy’s – some friendly smiles, some donations, and many who just walked past, intent on shopping. Then, I spotted a mom leading a beautiful little girl to the kettle, guiding her a bit more than I would have expected for her approximate age, about 6 to 7 years old. As the mom guided the girl’s hand to feel the kettle and stuff the money in, I realized that the little girl was blind. The mom then explained to her little girl, ‘we give money to the Salvation Army to help needy people who are less fortunate than we are.’ What could I say but ‘Thank You!’ to that very wise mom and her blind daughter.” — Barbara Beagle

“For a number of years I have stood outside Macy’s ringing the bell for Salvation Army and Silverdale Rotary. I have done this as a volunteer, and I usually somehow manage to pick the coldest day of the year to do it. It is not particularly fun, and I don’t exactly look forward to it...but it has changed my perspective about bell ringers. Yes, I was one of those people that avoided eye contact with those bell ringers because I either didn’t have any money to give or didn’t want to take the time to dig it out of a wallet. And yes, I was one of those people that choose a different door to avoid the one where there was a bell ringer because I didn’t want to feel guilty. Now that I have stood on cold concrete for hours ringing that bell I do have a new perspective.  Be kind to the bell ringers, you might be surprised at how good it makes you feel.” — Nancy Whitaker

“Ringing the Bell for the Salvation Army is probably the most enjoyable thing that I do in Rotary. It is a wonderful way to give back to a great cause and to also get into the spirit of the season. I love interacting with the public. Sometimes, I might mention my shirt size to a lady entering Macy’s.  And, apparently, they understand that I am kidding because no one has ever bought me a shirt.  In 2010, my mother passed away and I was dealing with painful losses in my life. That year, to get through the season, I just dove into this project. That involvement helped me get through a very difficult period in my life. For many years, I shared bell-ringing with Hank Mann Sykes. We would work the same shift, the last shift of the day. Afterwards, ‘Mr. Silverdale’ (Hank) and I would have dinner in the food court and, then, he  and I would walk all around the mall to take in the holiday cheer. Hank loved to say hello to and talk with everyone. We did this again in 2011 when Hank was in a wheelchair and it was clear that 2011 was going to be his last Christmas.” —Robert C. MacDermid

 

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