Boy rings bell for Salvation Army
December 15, 2004
Ten-year-old Austin Martin’s technique as a Salvation Army bell-ringer is simple:
“I just stand up and ring the bell. There is really nothing to it,” said the Meneley Elementary School fifth-grader.
Austin should know. This is the third year he has given up a few hours on a Saturday morning to raise money for the less fortunate.
He and his mother, Anna Martin, are going to be collecting donations at Raley’s in Gardnerville from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Last week, he collected more than $100.
“About three years ago, my mom asked me if I wanted to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. It was fun,” he said.
Austin said he’s never seen another bell-ringer his age.
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“Some people say they’ve never seen another kid do it,” he said.
Austin wears the signature red apron that identifies him as a Salvation Army volunteer.
“The first year, the apron was down to his ankles,” Anna Martin said.
He layers his clothing depending on the weather.
“One time it was really windy and blowing sand in our eyes,” he said.
His mother said contributors appreciate that he offers holiday greetings.
“People thank him for saying, ‘Merry Christmas,'” she said.
Austin said he appreciates the donations and the kind comments and the courtesy from neighboring merchants in the shopping center.
“When it was cold, the owner of the Chinese buffet offered my mom hot tea and gave us some cookies. It was really nice,” he said.
Austin also tries to find time for tae kwon do, snowboarding, baseball and football. He recently gave up soccer, but took up clarinet in the school band.
Austin said he plans to continue to volunteer indefinitely.
“It makes me feel pretty good inside,” he said. “It really helps a lot of people.”
— Sheila Gardner can be reached at email@example.com or 782-5121, ext. 214.
Austin Martin will be ringing the bell for Salvation Army donations at the Raley’s in Gardnerville from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday.