WAYNESBORO, Va. -- This year, The Salvation Army has struggled to get volunteers to ring the bell for it's annual Red Kettle Campaign, but one man in The Valley is using four weeks of paid time off to help. His name is Darrell Jones and he's rung the bell for more than 20 years.
If you wondered how he has so much vacation time to do this, here's the explanation: Jones has been working at Invista in Waynesboro for 45 years and is now guaranteed six weeks of paid vacation time.
Each year, he saves it all for the month of December and lets The Salvation Army decide when he's needed. "It's nine to ten hours a day, and we're out six days a week," Jones said.
For a lot of people, donating that much time to the volunteer campaign would seem like a difficult task, but Jones said it's a simple calculation."Everybody gets 16 hours. You get two shifts awake, one sleeping," Jones said. "So the question is, what are you going to do with your 16 hours?"
Jones has certainly found his calling. By standing beside the kettle at the Kroger on Arch Avenue in Waynesboro, he's helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars over the years. "I've gotten some rather large donations. Someone walked up and gave me well over $1,000," Jones said.
When he doesn't show up to ring the bell, Jones has some explaining to do as loyal shoppers question where he's been instead. Even so, Jones said it's this next thought, not the people, that keeps him coming back each year. "It's remarkable what difference one person can make," Jones said.
When it comes to 2013, Jones said he has faith he'll be back to ring again. "Lord willing, he's brought me here 20 something years. Lord willing, he'll do it again."
If you'd like to volunteer, The Salvation Army of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County still needs help. The Red Kettle Campaign goes until 3:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
You can call (540) 434-4854 to schedule a time to volunteer.