The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

December 11, 2013

This time, bell has different ring

Diamond donated to Salvation Army

SHENANGO VALLEY — With a diamond ring too big to fit in the Salvation Army’s red kettle, Capt. Scott Flanders proposes a local jeweler buy the ring from him and help support the agency doing its best to help the less fortunate.

The ring, appraised at nearly $5,000, was a gift from a Sharon couple who said they wanted to see it do some good. The couple wanted to remain anonymous, but offered a little history to the ring.

It belonged to the man’s first wife, who died several years ago. She originally bought the ring in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1991. His current wife said she thought the ring was beautiful and she wore it “once or twice, but I kept trying to hide it, because it’s too big. It’s too ritzy. It isn’t who I am,” she said.

The man, a retired transmission engineer, said he came up with the idea a few days ago to give it to the Salvation Army, after hearing a story years ago about someone tossing a diamond ring in a Salvation Army kettle in Tennessee.

Flanders said it isn’t unusual for people to toss things other than money into the kettles. When he served in New Hampshire people put stocks and bonds in the kettle. Another person gave him a minivan. And during a stint in Lancaster, Pa., someone dropped gold coins worth more than $400 in the kettle every week. And he’s had several engagement rings tossed into kettles throughout his career, but none as large as this ring, he said.

“People believe in what we do. They may not know what all we do, but they believe we’re putting the money to good use,” he said.

He hopes that a jeweler will understand that he’s not selling the ring “for my own purposes” but to benefit those in need.

The agency set a $65,000 goal for this year, but just shy of two weeks from the end, they’ve netted $21,731.99.

“I’m worried,” Flanders said. Historically the 13 collection days between now and Christmas often bring in the biggest donations, with some days being “three- or four-thousand- dollar days.”

The money is used year-round to provide groceries for the food bank, assistance to families in crisis and to send children to summer camp.

The Fisher Hill organization has about 500 volunteers, Flanders said, and a staff that handles hundreds of requests for help each week.

The Angel Tree program aims to provide toys for more than 900 children this Christmas and Flanders said donations have been generous this year.

Betty Marosy, a Sharon woman who is a “soldier” in the Salvation Army and a volunteer, has spent the last several weeks organizing the toys. She said each enrolled child will be getting a gift bag with at least $50 worth of toys.

“A lot of the people went way overboard. If the gift was supposed to be $25, some of them went way beyond that price,” she said.

With hundreds of bags of toys, the distribution is set for Dec. 17.

There is always a need for bell ringers and donations, Flanders said. Anyone willing to help with either can call 724-347-5543.


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