Click on the title of this story above "GSR BEll Ringers 2007" to read all about the GSR Bell Ringers by GSR reporter David Pies. There is a link at the end of the story where you will find a slide show of this year's favorite GSR Bell Ringers. Captain Sloan sincerely thanks all those who volunteered and help to raise $770.00 for the Salvation Army.


Ah hah! - the holiday cometh -   Jingling bells, the blare of "We wish you a Merry Christmas" and "Joy to the World".    Christmas lists, presents to buy, cards to mail, and malls to tromp. 

            But wait, there is an oasis in this desert of consumption - in the mall, in front of Nordstrom, there hangs a kettle.

            It is red with a sign over it announcing the Salvation Army.  A bell ringer or two, man or people the kettle, with a small bell in hand and a smile - they call attention to the Christmas opportunity - the opportunity to live the premise that "it is more blessed to give than to receive".  As Jewel Price, President Elect, stated in her inspiration message last Friday:  "There is more to Christmas than shopping."

            We all know or think we know of the good that the Salvation Army performs.  It offers preschool and after school programs, it provides food to the hungry and housing to the homeless.  It takes those without hope and gives them a new life with the help of the Holy Spirit.

            How does one become a bell ringer?  Good question.  With Scott Pafford as Chairperson it was almost impossible not to help. 

            I drove from Ventura to be part of the opportunity and did I mention the fun?   Yes, lots of fun.  Living the farthest away, I arrived first.  The little red kettle hung there, alone and empty.  It was 9:00 am and people were just getting their shopping pulse revved up.

            Chairman Scott arrived and then Captain Jim Sloan from the Salvation Army - our President and a minister.  Naturally there are rules and they have changed.  First of all, you can't ring the bell too loud or too long.  It disturbs the merchants.  We brought them some chocolate candy to mitigate their wrath - and then gave them P.J. Pati's card - our dentist member.

            New member Les Vincent managed to find his way from the first floor in front of J.C. Pennys to the second level outside of Nordstrom.  He contributed to our kettle - what a guy.  I went down to reciprocate but got lost.

            Speaking of fun - Frank Lopez and I sang "We wish you a Merry Christmas" until Scott pointed out our singing might be driving people away.

            The kettle watched in amusement as Scott helped several women with strollers up the stairs in front of Nordstrom.

            Jim Thomas arrived promptly at noon and described the reading program at BenFranklinSchool and many of the problems facing teachers today.

            Zainul and family son Imran and daughter Zakia and entourage were there - his children have grown up since I met Zainul in Rotary.

            As the day went on, other Rotarians arrived to help feed the kettle: Frank Lopez, Jim Thomas, Richard Diradourian, Taryn Sokolow, Rick Dinger and his 3 sons, Vrejh Hosvepian, Harry & Jewel Price, David Smith, David DiJulio, Jorge Vazquex, Ellen Makenna and her dog J.J. were a real hit and brought a crowd around the Red Kettle, Camille and Earl Levee. Wow, what a group of Bell Ringers!

            And finally it was over, the kettle was alone again and empty once more - but it did its job and tomorrow is another day.

            David DiJulio, who looked like he had just stepped out of Gentlemen's Quarterly, was a bell ringer.  His favorite book is "The Little Engine Who Could".  Maybe there should be a story:  "The Little Kettle Who Did."

Click on the Link below to view the GSR Bell Ringers slide show.