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Harry Hoagland stands with his awards and Billie Kay, director of service extension for Indiana, and Major Donna Leedom, divisional secretary for the Salvation Army, Indiana Division.

Harry Hoagland was honored for his work for the Salvation Army of Fountain County.

“He really is an asset to your community,” said Nancy Wolfe, Service Extension Liaison of Central Indiana, The Salvation Army, Indiana Division. “He’s really wonderful. He’s just one of a kind.”

The ceremony was a surprise for Hoagland. “There were tears,” he said. “I accept the recognition on behalf of all the bell ringers and council members. He mentioned the help of Sara Wheeler, who has worked the past few years as a scheduler calling people to ring the bell and organized where they’d go.

“It takes a community. I’m just a vessel that helped make it happen.”

One of the reasons he stands out as a Salvation Army serviceman is his work has helped increase what’s raised in Fountain County from $300 seven years ago to this year taking in $20,135 for the county.

“That money stays in your community,” Wolfe said. “He’s providing help for people who need it. And, he sets the bar higher each year.”

Hoagland said this year’s goal was $15,000. He noted there were six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than there have been in previous years, therefore, there were fewer days to collect. There were also several countertop kettles, as well as the outside red buckets with bell ringers. In the past several years he’s worked to get more businesses and organizer, and communities, involved. “It’s not just Covington. We’re out in Veedersburg, Kingman, Wallace, Hillsboro.” He said Attica is part of the Warren County campaign. “I’m surprised by the number of people in Fountain County who don’t know Salvation Army exists in Fountain County. Kettles help get that known, and more money can be distributed.”

He said this year there were letter writing appeals and several nice contributions through the mail. Next year, the plan is to get letters out earlier to help donors with budgeting and figuring out write offs.

Last year there were more than 200 families helped with that money.

“Every dollar people put in the kettle stays in the county. We don’t sustain one family over a period of time. We give some money to help get them on their feet.”

He said in the past few days he delivered a check to a family in the southern part of the coutny which needed help with funeral costs.

Hoagland said Salvation Army is a Christian organization and it focuses on the fruits of the Spirit and serves without discrimination. It “serves our fellow man in the name of Christ. This is an organization I feel very strongly about.

He said he returned to Covington in 2003, having moved away for 46 years.

“I needed to put something back into the community. Covington is a very good community, very step forward.” He’s also part of the Mount Hope Cemetery Board, Fountain County Art Council, Covington Alumni Association — wall of fame, mentoring middle school students, and a book lovers club.

“I keep busy so I don’t start a ‘lazy boy career’ after retirement.”

Wolfe said Hoagland rings the bell just like everyone else who helps with Salvation Army. She said he’ll say he’s no football hero but she said he’s a hero of a special kind.

“There’s a (Salvation Army) council now (in Fountain County). I can’t say enough about him,” Wolfe said. “He says he couldn’t do it without the council, but he made the council.”

Hoagland said there are 56 counties in Indiana which don’t have a Salvation Army church, a brick and mortar building to work out of, and Fountain County is one of those. He said the council works in its place.

He loves Covington and Fountain County.