With The Salvation Army being our cover this week, I just thought it was fitting that I moved one of my annual topics up a couple of weeks.
I have always been a big believer in the work The Salvation Army does. As most, I became familiar with the organization when I was only a child. When you heard the ringing of the bell and saw those red kettles, you knew Christmas time was soon to follow. At the time, my Mom and Dad would always give me quarters or even a dollar to drop in the kettle. Please remember this was the seventies, and that George Washington was worth about an Alexander Hamilton of today’s world.
When I was 12 years old, I started playing basketball at The Salvation Army. It was at this time that I met Dave Sechler, who ran the gymnasium. A few years prior, Mr. Charlie Levering brought Dave on board when he was just a teenager. He eventually took over gym duties. The area’s best players always competed at “The Sal,” and Dave was always there taking care of everything with a smile on his face. He was one of the kindest, good-hearted, and caring people that I have ever met. It’s also worth noting no one rang the bell more than Dave during the Christmas season.
Over the years, Sech and I became great friends. All during this time, I witnessed the time and effort Dave provided the Salvation Army and our community. Our friendship continued long after my basketball playing days.
People cross through the path of your life each and every day. Some spend a short time in your journey, others a lifetime. Often it is not until they leave us, we reflect and realize just how special they were. Dave Sechler spent his earthly days working for good. This would often go unnoticed due to his quiet demeanor, big smile, and his everyday salt of the earth approach to whatever he was doing. Dave was truly selfless; everything he did was for others.
When Dave tragically passed away in 2014, I not only wanted people to reflect and remember Dave, but I also wanted to continue his life’s work for the Salvation and helping people. I began his remembrance with two articles, 6/4/14 “So Long Sech” and 12/10/14 “Red Kettle Remembrance of Dave Sechler.” I will have both posted at webbweekly.com for anybody that would like to look back and read them.
What I did within those articles was remember Dave for all the everyday things he did that made our world a better place. I asked for anyone who played hoops at “The Sal” under Dave’s watch for help with an annual remembrance of Sech. The first year I had a kettle placed in my office, and anybody interested could stop and make a donation that the Webb Weekly would match, up to a total of $5,000. What has happened since then is truly remarkable.
Through the effort of all those former Sech Gym rats, many of whom I am proud to call friends, people who knew and loved Dave within the community, and those who just wanted to donate to a great cause, we have kept Dave’s bell-ringing stronger than ever. By 2016 we had raised over $20,000 and had the gym floor resurfaced. That same year with the help of Major Don Spencer, Tony Perrotta, and The Salvation Army board of directors, we had the gym named in honor of Dave.
It is my estimation that through everybody’s love and generosity, we have raised over $50,000 for our local Salvation Army. A heartfelt thank you to everyone. I guarantee you Dave is looking down, smiling ear to ear, and modestly uncomfortable with all the attention he’s received.
So, at this point, we might as well kick off our 2021 Red Kettle Remembrance of David J. Sechler. I will have a kettle set up in the office for anybody that would like to stop and say hello. In recent years due to COVID, we’ve allowed folks to mail their donation, and we will put it in the kettle for you. Webb Weekly, 280 Kane Street, Suite 2, South Williamsport PA 17702. Just mark it “Remembering Dave.”
I would like to welcome new Major Sheryl Hershey, Lieutenant Jackie Brewer, and Laura Templeton, Public Relations Resource Development Director. They are wonderful ladies who will continue amazing work in the name of Jesus. A special Webb Weekly tip of the cap to Mr. Kent Bennett and all his efforts on behalf of The Salvation Army.
God Bless America.