Liz Hightower, who coordinates the schedule for the annual Red Kettle drive of the Alpine Service Unit of the Salvation Army, is looking for a few more bell-ringers this holiday season.

All it takes is one hour of ringing the bell in front of either Porter’s Thriftway store to draw attention to the collection kettles.

For the more musically inclined, you could sing carols or play an instrument – anything to lift spirits and remind shoppers to donate to this good cause.

As for me, I stick to the bell. I was the only member of my high school class who was encouraged to lip sync during choir.

When a nun tells you that you don’t make “a joyful noise unto the Lord,” you tend to believe her.

All the money collected in Alpine stays in Alpine to assist folks in need. Some are residents who need help with utilities or have other emergencies, and some are travelers passing through who may have had car trouble, as just one example.

Law enforcement, church leaders and those who work in social service agencies make referrals, as do ordinary citizens.

Liz sends me a report of disbursements – the recipients remain anonymous – and shares this information with Alpine’s Ministerial Alliance. It’s a transparent process.

Back in November, Liz wrote about the process works for the church page.

In case you missed it, the Salvation Army Alpine is allowed to help a client for a maximum amount once in a 12-month period. That amount depends on how much money is donated, and how many clients request assistance, she wrote.

Liz interviews clients to get required information and Linda Lassiter at West Texas National Bank writes the checks and maintains the checking account.

Liz keeps a record of the clients in order to determine if the Salvation Army can help someone.

If you are looking for a way to volunteer, ringing the Salvation Army bell is a wonderful opportunity. It is an experience you can share with a child, as well.

It’s amazing to hear the stories from donors of how they’ve been helped through the years. Sometimes it was a hot cup of coffee or a meal served to a member of the armed forces, or help with a utility bill when someone was out of a job.

The most generous donors, in my experience, have been the ones who’ve been helped by Salvation Army.

Every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 19 at both Porter’s Thriftway stores, you’ll see and hear the bell-ringers. If you can’t spare an hour, I encourage you to gather your change from your sofa cushions and under your car seats and drop it in the bucket when you pass.

Or, mail a check to Salvation Army Alpine, P.O. Box 415, Alpine TX 79831.

To volunteer, call Liz at 432-294-4321.

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Nothing beats a good reunion story during the holidays.

One happy ending I’d like to see is a deceased resident’s ring returned to his sister.

Rusty Holloways’ ring has little monetary value, but tremendous sentimental value to Lisa Fitzsimmons.

Lisa has been searching for the ring for almost a year. I’m hoping that since some time has passed, the missing piece of jewelry may come to light.

If you have any information about it, come forward and let me know so that I can pass it along to Lisa.

And if you have the ring, please bring it to me here at the Avalanche office. I won’t ask any questions or reveal your identity. I only want to get the ring to Lisa.

Here’s her story:

“My brother, Russel (Rusty) Holloway, lived out on the Meriwether Double Diamond Ranch and passed away after a sudden illness on Jan. 6, 2015.  

“He patronized Harry’s, as well as other local hot spots and had many, many friends in the short time he had lived in Alpine.  

“He lived alone and lived a very simple life out on the ranch and when he passed away, my sisters and I came to handle his affairs.

“Among his possessions was a silver ring that he wore all the time but the ring was not among his belongings, nor on his person.  

“The silver ring was a James Avery signet ring with his survey sign, “llXll,” engraved on it.  

“After speaking to a few of his friends, I found out he had taken the ring to King Jewelry recently, but had gotten it back.  

“This is just a letter to ask if anyone has any information about this ring – although it has very little monetary value to anyone, the personal value to me is priceless.”

Gwin Grimes is editor and publisher of the Alpine Avalanche. She can be reached at 432-837-3334, or at 118 N. 5th St.