Marathon bellringer issues challengeThis will be the first time in five years that Helen McCombie won’t be conducting her 30-hour stint at the Salvation Army red kettle outside of County Market.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
This will be the first time in five years that Helen McCombie won’t be conducting her 30-hour stint at the Salvation Army red kettle outside of County Market.
After raising more than $100,000 over the last five years, McCombie has come in from the cold but hopes that someone else in the community will take up the challenge -- to raise $30,000 in 30 hours. The majority of the money raised in the area stays here to support local Salvation Army efforts including Grace Place in Somerset.
When she hit on the idea back in 2006, she raised $22,000 with donations ranging in size from $.25 to $2,000. Her totals have risen every year with donations small and large and it is likely she will be missed outside of County Market this year. Manager Dana Glade and the staff of the grocery store have provided McCombie with both moral and physical support during all of her marathons with food, a place to warm up and plenty of encouragement.
But McCombie said that 2010 would be her last year. After “paying it forward” for five years, she believe there is a person or a group of people in the community who will continue the tradition she started.
“There is nothing like the feeling you get when somebody drives up waving money or a check out their window at you. I just love running over the getting it, and the look on their faces -- you can just see how happy they are to give.”
McCombie believes that what motivated her to stand out in the cold for 30 hours will also motivate others. “Everybody needs a little extra help now and then, and if I could do it, well why not. There was somebody there to help me when I needed it. This is a good organization and the money stays right here to help our friends and neighbors. That’s why I did it and I hope other people will feel the same way.”
To take up McCombie’s challenge or to volunteer to take a shift as at one of the kettles in Hudson contact the Salvation Army in St. Croix County at (715) 247-2944.