HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Two volunteers ringing the bell and manning the kettle for the Salvation Army got the surprise of their lives Saturday.
The elderly couple, affiliated with the Lion’s Club, were approached by a man outside the First Street Kroger in Huntington Saturday afternoon. In broad daylight, the man pulled out a gun and told the couple to hand over the kettle.
When he took off with the red kettle, the couple attempted to chase him but stopped when they realized he could shoot them.
The couple told police they’re not sure how much money was in the kettle. They’d been accepting donations all afternoon.
Major Matt Riley, who heads up the Salvation Army in Huntington, said in his 24-years with the SA, he’s never heard of anything like this happening in the Huntington area. He stressed, if the armed gunman had needed help, all he had to do was ask.
All the money collected during the kettle campaign goes towards providing Christmas toys and meals for families in need. It also helps pay the bills year-round for the Salvation Army.
Riley said he’s already forgiven the robber. As for the campaign, they will continue to have a kettle and bell ringers at the First Street Kroger location. He said the company has been very generous to the Salvation Army over the years.