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Salvation Army kettle bell ringers out in force
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Salvation Army bell-ringer Darryl Bain gets a donation put into the red kettle from 4-year-old Zoey and her mom, Holly Cole, on Tuesday. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Holly Cole took notice Tuesday of the familiar bell-ringer in front of the Save Mart Supermarket on North Main Street.

It was Darryl Bain, who, for the past 11 years, played his accordion and other instruments as a volunteer for Salvation Army.

“I used to see you in front of Kmart,” she said, toting her 4-year-old daughter Zoey after doing some grocery shopping.

The youngster dropped some loose change into the red kettle.

Bain, who was slowed by a recent illness coupled with a lingering injury, limited his time on the accordion, instead, going with the conventional bell ringing for the Red Kettle Christmas Campaign. All told, the money collected here will help the Salvation Army provide food, toys and clothing during the holiday for more than 34 million needy Americans.

He indicated several years ago that the constant ringing of bells made for some tough sleepless nights. Bain opted for the accordion, violin or whatever musical instrument worked that day.

He also plays the piano for his church.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, Bain was placed in his new surroundings at 1172 N. Main St. He soon found it to his liking, taking advantage of the nearby deli counter by purchasing cups of coffee to help stay warm.

Bain, who is in front of the store five days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., also found more people were giving generously to the cause.

“It’s been phenomenal – much better than last year,” he said.

He recently received some good news. After a long wait, Bain, who wears layers of clothes to combat the cold weather, will finally get his Salvation Army uniform.

“I’ve waited nine years for this,” he said.