Salvation Army volunteers honored during appreciation dinner Thursday

CBS 19 Vice President and General Manager John Gaston gives the Salvation Army's Chantel Millin a thumbs up in thanks for the "Doing the Most Good Award" at the Salvation Army Volunteer Appreciation Dinner Thursday night. Herb Nygren Jr/ Staff

Volunteers and friends of The Salvation Army in Tyler were honored at the annual volunteer appreciation dinner on Thursday. The highest honor, the "Doing the Most Good" Award, was given to KYTX CBS19.

"This is really a company award," said John Gaston, vice president and general manager of CBS19. "On a personal level, I'm always impressed by the goodness of people."

CBS19 was recognized for its diligent coverage and promotion of the Christmas Kettle campaign, which makes up 25 percent of The Salvation Army's annual budget. CBS19 employees also donated 100 volunteer hours to ringing the kettle bell, which raised more than $7,000.

The Salvation Army has more than 3,000 volunteers; about 300 RSVP'd to Thursday's event.

"These are our MVP's who bring their all to the court," said Doris Lawrence, major of the Tyler corps, at the March Madness themed event. "You make it seem so effortless."

The bell ringer award is a competition every year between the women's auxiliary and the advisory board. This year, the advisory board won, with a whooping 708 volunteer hours and more than $35,000 funds raised.

The "Angel of Hope" award was given to Andre Thompson, who competed in a contest with other corps in the national organization to see who could continuously ring a kettle bell the longest.

Thompson won a three-way tie with 105 hours of continuous ringing. He raised $22,000 with his efforts alone.

The corporate award was given to the Walgreens on South Broadway Avenue who hosted Thompson for his bell-ringing challenge. Employees would often buy him food throughout the challenge, said Chantel Millin, one of the award presenters.

The church award was given to Pollard United Methodist Church. The church provided bell ringers, bought and assembled bicycles for children's Christmas gifts for the Salvation Army Angel Tree and provided monetary donations.

The Tyler Professional Firefighters Association was recognized for their "Tee Off for Toys," golf event which benefited the Salvation Army.

Volunteers Bill "Pops" Barton and Robin Kerby were recognized with the Angel Award and the Others Award for their volunteerism.

The Outstanding Youth Service Award went to Caroline Wells for her lemonade stand she set up at the golf tournament to benefit The Salvation Army.

The "Heart to God, Hand to Man," award went to Clent and MaKenzie Wyatt, and Larry and Dee Kostedt for their volunteerism.

The Passion Award was given to Ed King and Chick-Fil-A for their contributions to the soup drive, and for providing bikes and coupons for the organization.





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