Holidays Bring Out The Best In Payson Residents

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Some Payson residents don't just think about helping the less fortunate during the Christmas holiday season, they pound the pavement and take action.

In front of many major store chains, Salvation Army volunteers festooned in dark blue uniforms, with the well-recognized red kettles, can be seen and heard during the holiday season.

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PHS vice-principal Tim Fruth is one of the more well-known Salvation Army bell ringers. Fruth is also a member of the Payson town council.

In big city, most of the faces of bell ringers manning the kettles are unfamiliar.

But, in a small community like Payson, the faces of the bell ringers are often not so foreign.

Two well-known individuals in Payson have volunteered their time to The Salvation Army for several years now.

The principal of Payson High School, Roy Sandoval, and vice principal, Tim Fruth, spend some of their free weekend time ringing the bells.

As if getting up every day at the crack of dawn to educate and guide the community's youth isn't enough for these two citizens, they feel compelled to do even more.

"This is about my fifth year doing this," Fruth said.

He said his wife, Carolyn, and their two daughters also get in on the act and volunteer as bell ringers.

Fruth said it might sound trite, but he does it because he feels a spiritual obligation to help others.

"The way I look at it is, what would Jesus do?"

"Would he jump in and help people who were in need, my guess is he would," Fruth said.

While his incentive may be spiritually based, Fruth said he likes the opportunity to interact with people in the community.

"You get the chance to talk with people you normally wouldn't get much of an opportunity to meet otherwise," he said.

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Payson High School Principal Roy Sandoval is a Salvation Army bell ringer.

"Its actually a welcome break from the stuff we have to do on a daily basis as educators and community officials," Sandoval said.

Both men said one of the benefits of being known in the community is that people donate more.

They said people tend to have deeper pockets when someone well-known to them is doing the collecting.

This is Sandoval's third year volunteering for the Salvation Army.

He said he volunteers for basically the same reason as Fruth, but with a family tradition-like tie.

"My dad was always helping other people out," Sandoval said.

"He would always be building something for someone, or giving them a hand with something."

Sandoval's father brought home a homeless fiddle player one day, Sandoval said.

"I lived in a trailer apart from my parents' house, and my dad had this guy stay in the trailer with me," Sandoval said.

He said his dad never asked the homeless fiddle player for rent of any kind, but the man did various jobs for Sandoval's father in compensation.

"I guess that sort of showed me how important it is to help out people, so I guess that is a lot of the reason I do this."

Sandoval said volunteering came as somewhat of a surprise to him.

"One day Tim (Fruth) just kind of came in and told me, ‘Hey, by the way, I signed you up to be a bell ringer with the Salvation Army,'" Sandoval said.

Fruth said he does it, not specifically to give back to the community, but because the proceeds from his labor stay in Payson.

‘The money we collect is used right here in our own community," Fruth said.

In places like Phoenix there are bell ringers all over Valley and they collect a lot of money, but Payson has a limited number of volunteers who work primarily on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Fruth said.

Donations to the Salvation Army benefit the community by providing services some people might otherwise have to do without.

Things like Christmas dinners, toys and clothing for families in need, and even financial assistance.

"Volunteers distribute gifts to shut-ins in hospitals and nursing homes, and shelters are open for sit-down dinners.

Many families receive aid over a period of months after the Christmas season as well, people struggling with difficult family, emotional, or employment problems," the Salvation Army Web site said.

Last year, Salvation Army volunteers collected over $19,000 in donations to benefit the community, Ray Kinsman, the Salvation Army representative in Payson said.

"We just saw a need in our community, and addressed it," Fruth said.

Volunteer Salvation Army bell ringers needed

If you would like to volunteer to help the Salvation Army efforts in Payson, call Ray Kinsman at 474-6577.

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