Angela and Joe Kennedy
Angela and Joe Kennedy

VAN WERT – When Van Wert’s Joe Kennedy attended a Christmas program for children at the Salvation Army in Van Wert, he received the opportunity to do something he’s wanted to do for a long time – give back to a community that has been good to him and his family.

"I saw an application to help with the annual Salvation Army fund-raising campaign,” said Kennedy. “I thought, ‘why not?’ I’ve never done anything like this before.”

So far Kennedy has served at Rural King and Walmart.

“This is the first year to volunteer,” said Kennedy. “I want to help the community at Christmas time. It’s time to give and share. How about sharing with the community?"

“I am so glad that I am doing this. I love it; it’s an awesome thing to do. People come up and greet you and donate. I love to stand and talk to them. Many of them are so friendly,” continued Kennedy. “They are so encouraging. They tell me that I am doing a good job, and they support me.”

Kennedy said that he is learning how priceless a friendly smile can be, especially those of the children and the adults who have supported the Salvation Army campaign each year.

“The smiles of the kids are priceless,” noted Kennedy. “I love it when they talk about Christmas and what it means to them, what they would like to have for Christmas. This is the first time I’ve ever volunteered. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am planning on doing it again next year.”

Kennedy’s wife, Angela Kennedy, who slipped him some sandwiches while he was working at Walmart earlier this week, said that she and the children, Randy and Hannah, are proud of him for reaching out to volunteer on behalf of others.

Kennedy said that there is a spiritual motive behind it all.

“God gave His Son for us; we celebrate that at Christmas. The least we can do is give and volunteer on His behalf,” observed Kennedy.

“It’s nice how he is helping others. We have received help in the past. I’m proud of him for volunteering to give back,” said Angela Kennedy.

“He is an amazingly very good person,” continued Kennedy. “He cares about others. He’s one of the best. We’ve been together since High School at Van Wert.”