"When they reversed their decision we were just very happy." - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

"When they reversed their decision we were just very happy."

WAUSAU (WAOW)--Salvation Army officials told Newsline 9 a familiar sound of the season will soon be heard outside the Fleet Farm store in Wausau. After company officials reversed a decision to ban the bell ringers from outside Fleet Farm stores, Captain Katrina Goodwill said she reached out to the store's manager.

Meanwhile, volunteers continued ringing in donations at sites across the Wausau area.

"Every once in a while I'll hear the bells for a good hour after my shift," said Kyle Rellinger. He was ringing the bell outside County Market on Wednesday and said a little ringing in the ears is a small price to pay for the good red kettle donations can do.

"The Salvation Army helps a lot of people and I'm one of them," he added.

Rellinger is staying at the Salvation Army's shelter, and said he knows first-hand how donations can help. That's why he said he was frustrated when he heard Fleet Farm had banned the bells. "We're promoting a good cause," he said.

Some shoppers were unhappy with the company's original decision, too.

"I was surprised. I didn't understand why," said Jim Dommisse of Wausau.

"I was kind of flabbergasted that anybody would even think of not allowing the bell ringers," said Karen Juliano.

Reactions like Juliano's lead Fleet Farm to reverse its decision. In a statement released Tuesday, Fleet Farms Vice President said "Our customers have spoken and in addition to the money we donated, they feel the red kettles and ringing bells raise awareness of those in need in our community."

He also said the choice to ban the bells was an "unfortunate decision," adding, "we were wrong."

"When they reversed their decision we were just very happy. They are gracious people, they've always been gracious. We've never had ill feelings towards them and we're glad that they can help Wausau," said Captain Katrina Goodwill of the Salvation Army of Wausau.

She said having another location site will help boost donations and the local chapter is thankful to have another site for a red kettle. "For them to be that gracious to us, all of our locations, we're just blown away by their holiday spirit and their giving spirit," she said.

Rellinger said he will keep ringing in donations for up to eight hours a day, to help others down on their luck. "You don't understand how important that stuff is until you don't have it," he said.

Plans are in place to bring the bell ringers back to the Fleet Farm location in Wausau as soon as volunteers can be scheduled.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton




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