KOKOMO, Ind. (WLFI) - At 88 years old, John Rudy shows no signs of slowing down.
During the holiday season he ties on his red Salvation Army apron and rings a brass bell. Cold temperatures and snow never stop the former teacher from standing next to his red kettle.
John Rudy greets customers walking in and out of the Kroger Grocery Store on North Dixon in Kokomo. Whether they stop to drop a few coins into his red kettle or not, Rudy has a smile and kind words for people busy grabbing groceries, and preparing for the holiday.
"People are desperate, some of the people are desparate now, in this economy you know," said John Rudy.
Rudy spent 33 years with his family in France teaching at the European Bible Institute. He retired and eventually moved to Kokomo. During the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign, Rudy rings a bell, three days a week, for four hours. For 20 years, Rudy has been ringing the bell so common with the holiday season. The sound and the service mean so much to Rudy.
"So many people look at it as I'm sacrificing something. I'm not sacrificing. I'd rather be ringing a bell out here in the cold, than sitting before a television in a heated room, because it's better to give than to receive," said Rudy.
Nationally, the red kettle campaign has endured a tough holiday season. Cold weather, and people with less money to give, have left some kettles a little lighter at the end of each day. But Rudy said he will keep ringing the bell, and hoping everyone's needs are met.
"And I hope to be doing it until I'm 90. I've set the goal at 90. After that, I might be having to sit home and prop up my feet, but so far it's been good," said Rudy.
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