MARSHALL - When it comes to raising money for the Salvation Army, it's not just about location, location, location. JoAnn Dorman says what's even more important is volunteers, volunteers, volunteers.
Dorman, the Lyon County Red Kettle Campaign volunteer coordinator, said it's the volunteers who drive the campaign's success - the people who gave of their time to stand in cold store entryways to ring bells. This year, those volunteers played a major role in the campaign breaking yet another fundraising record.
The campaign brought in $31,668.14 this year - more than $3,000 than what was collected in the record-breaking year of 2011.
Independent file photo
Dr. Wayne Taintor, left, and Ed Haag stand next to a Salvation Army kettle with Lyon County Red Kettle Campaign volunteer coordinator JoAnn Dorman recently. Taintor was a volunteer ringer this year and Haag donated more than $2,500 — money he raised by running in a marathon in Willmar earlier this year.
"It's really exciting," Dorman said of this year's total. "Everybody should feel good about it, whether they volunteered to ring or threw some change into a kettle. It's about everybody coming together to make a difference."
Especially those volunteers, she said.
Volunteer hours in 2012 were nearly identical to the previous year, Dorman said. This year, however, she said some ringers went above and beyond the call to help out, like two men who drove to Marshall from out of town to donate their time.
"One gentleman is without a job right now and almost every day he called me and said, 'What can I do for you?' It's really humbling. Another only rang as a kid, and he heard we needed volunteers and he called me. These guys rang for 25 hours total. A lot of people ring for two hours total. People were just so willing to ring - it's very helpful number one, and number two it's very humbling how much they were willing to give of their time. Very nice."
There were also a couple big-time, lump donations made this year. In early December, someone had rolled up 10 $100 bills and placed it in a kettle. And then there's Ed Haag, who donated more than $2,500 he raised by taking pledges before running in a 5K in Willmar.
"And we had three hundred-dollar bills wrapped together, too," Dorman said. "We had some really exciting things this year. Plus, I had people telling me that every time they went to shop they put something in there; nobody had told me that before. A couple of people said, 'Whenever I have change I put it in,' and everybody's change adds up to make a difference."
Dorman said having a presence at various places means more than a lone, unmanned Salvation Army kettle standing near the doors.
"The ringers bring awareness - that's what they do," she said. "When somebody is standing there it just reminds people that we're there. They're the key."
The Red Kettle Campaign started the weekend before Thanksgiving and officially ended Dec. 24. Dorman said this year's total could change a bit as late donations trickle in.