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Tree of Lights finds a new home at 525 Alby St.
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Lt. Bryan Ellison drives home a stake to make sure the tree stands tall.
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Mike Short goes over some “bell repair” as Ellison looks on.
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The installation crew — Lt. Bryan Ellison, Dean Lackey and Mike Short.
Tree of Lights campaign organizers Lt. Bryan & Teri Ellison announced the Botterbush family (Kevin, Julie, Kathleen, Jonathan and KJ) will be the 2015 Tree of Lights “Official Family” and will be the acting chair-family for this year’s campaign.
Kevin, who was elected chairman of the Salvation Army–Alton Corps Advisory Board in 2015, and his family have been active with the Salvation Army since 1970, when his father and brother, Ray, served on the board.
“It is a real honor for our family to be selected this year’s Tree of Light’s chair-family, and because of the Army’s ‘heart for families,’ I believe that it is fitting that a whole family be involved in the leadership of this campaign,” Botterbush said. “Our goal for this year’s Tree of Lights Red Kettle Campaign will be $99,000. While it is an ambitious goal, the need in our community is great, and if everyone does their part I am confident that it can be achieved.”
Coordination for this year’s campaign will be handled by Greg Gelzinnis. Known to many as the founder of Bluff City Tours and The Trolley, Gelzinnis has also had his hand in many events that have helped shape the community over the last 25 years from Fireworks on the Mississippi in the ’80s, to Celebration of Christmas and First Night in the ’90s, to his most recent efforts with the Pietown Gospel Music Festival and the Vintage Baseball event last month in Rock Spring Park.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work on this year’s Red Kettle Campaign, and am personally committed to insure that we achieve (and truthfully exceed) our 2015 goal,” Gelzinnis said. “Since arriving at the Army just a few weeks ago, I have observed firsthand the ‘saints’ that are the staff of the Alton Corps and their heart and commitment to the less fortunate of our community is simply inspirational.”
In order to cover every location where bells can be rung and every shift attached to each location, it will take 1,544 volunteers. Currently, there are approximately 300 volunteers who have committed to a two-hour bell-ringing shift.
“Making it easy and fun for our volunteers is what we are striving to do,” Lt. Teri Ellison, part of the husband and wife team that lead the Alton Corps, said. “Prospective volunteers can go online in the comfort of their living rooms to www.ringbells.org and select the location and time slot that works best for them.”
Some fun “competitive” opportunities to this year’s campaign include an area high school challenge with the school raising the most money from Dec. 1-15 to win a dance and have bragging rights on the Red Kettle High School Challenge traveling trophy.
“Donors can go to www.onlineredkettle.org/alton and click their donation from their phone, tablet or computer,” Gelzinnis said. “I would also be happy to help social media savvy donors set-up their own ‘online kettle’ that would be linked to the Alton Corps’ Kettle and they can help us get contributions through their contact list. A special recognition will be provided to the persons who are the most creative with their use of social media.”
For information, call Gelzinnis at (618) 465-7764 or (618) 550-9291.