Ringing & singing for Salvation Army - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ringing & singing for Salvation Army

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WATERLOO (KWWL)-- If you've gone shopping anywhere lately, you've probably been greeted at the door by a Salvation Army bell ringer.  Here in the Cedar Valley, there's one bell ringer that really stands out.           

For 11 years, David Willingham has been ringing a bell behind a Salvation Army red kettle.  He's one of the few paid bell ringers, but spend a lot of time year-round volunteering with the agency.

"Well it gives something back to the community.  The Salvation Army helped me when I needed help.  So I like going down there and I like helping out," Willingham said.

Willingham's become well-known for his jovial attitude and his deep voice as he sings while he rings.  Willingham says he's always loved to sing and hopes his little ditties bring some holiday cheer to the people passing by.

"I'm out here because I like meeting the folks and greeting them.  And I try to lift people's spirits up during this time of year," said Willingham.

And beyond the songs he sings, Willingham goes out of his way to be helpful in returning shopping carts for customers and opening doors.  From simple phrases he puts into melodies to Christmas carols, Willingham loves what he does.  And others seem to appreciate it, too.

"A lot of them tell me they can hear me from way off in the distance before they even see me.  And a lot of them thank me, and tell me I should be on the radio somewhere!" Willingham said.

And the bell ringer says if he can brighten just one person's day, it's a good day's work—no matter how much money might be dropped into his kettle.

Willingham says he has developed somewhat of a fan following over the years.  He'll often see the same people at many of the locations where he stands ringing the bell.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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