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A Red Kettle Double-Up

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go across the West Branch Valley. This Christmas carol seems perfect as we head into December. The song has been recorded by many artists over the years with different musical styles. I’m still old school and like Bing Crosby’s version the best. The song was written by Meredith Wilson in 1951. Bing was the first to record it that same year. Another name that comes to mind is Perry Como, and his version is very popular. As well as Michael Bublé, I think a lot of younger people today think he wrote and recorded the song.

I’m sure as you’re reading this, you’re thinking about your favorite version. The one thing I can say is it definitely puts a little extra Christmas spirit in your step. It’s the perfect background music as the hustle and bustle of the holiday season kicks off.

Our Christmas traditions have begun at our Webb Weekly office. I always know our Blaise Alexander Christmas Fun Coloring Contest has begun when the elves show up on loan from the North Pole. Editor Steph has complete details about the contest and the elves when you flip the page. I just want to warn everybody: if you stop by our office, please look where you’re stepping; the last thing I need this time of year is a workman’s comp claim from one of Santa’s employees. Not to mention, the last thing you need is to make the naughty list because of a mishap. I have elf-crossing signs posted for their safety.

Parents, grandparents, and caregivers make sure the young folks work their Christmas artistic magic and help them get entered. A tip of my Santa hat to the Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships. They have been with us since the very beginning of the Christmas coloring contest.

It’s time for my annual ringing of the bell for the Salvation Army Williamsport. I’m sure many of you reading know the story, but in case you forget, or for new readers, I’ll give you a quick overview.

Dave Sechler was one of the most selfless individuals I have ever met. He would give The Salvation Army blazer off his back to anybody who asked. This held true in every aspect of his life, not just his efforts for The Salvation Army.

Sech always had a smile on his face and was one of the kindest folks you would ever come across. Like so many people whose life’s journey crossed mine, it was through sports that I first met Dave. For decades, he took care of basketball and most events held in the gymnasium at the Salvation Army. I was very fortunate Sech let me be involved in hoops at the Sal at a very young age. It was from that we built a friendship that lasted his lifetime.

Dave was always working for the good and loved Christmas time. I would always see him out, making sure the bell was ringing and giving special attention to the annual Red Kettle program. Again, you couldn’t miss him with that big smile and kind words that ended with a Merry Christmas to all. It was this memory that prompted the idea for our Annual Red Kettle Remembrance in Dave’s honor and his lifetime of effort in helping people.

If you would like to read more about Dave and how this began, my columns from 6/4/14 “So Long Sech” and from 12/10/14 “Red Kettle Remembrance” are posted at

I’m a big believer in the great work The Salvation Army does locally. The donations made are used locally to help individuals in a multitude of ways. Some folks might just need a helping hand during the Christmas season. Some might need a helping hand all year long. They provide a wide variety of services to help adults and children from every walk of life.

Dave epitomized their mission to simply help anyone who needed a helping hand. So, it is in this spirit our Red Kettle is set up in the front of our office. We will again be doubling any donation you make either by stopping in or mailing it to Webb Weekly, 280 Kane Street, Suite 2, South Williamsport 17702. If you are mailing it in, please mark the envelope “Remembering Dave.” Webb Weekly matches the first $5,000 in donations. And after that, we see where our combined efforts take us.

For anyone who drops by in person, we will have a Webb Weekly mug full of candy for the extra effort. Please feel free to share any conversation about Dave, The Salvation Army, and Christmastime.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has contributed over the years.

Please try to make a difference for the good in whatever way you choose.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb