Pigman is a fixture with The Salvation Army

| December 5, 2019

Willis Pigman has been ringing bells for The Salvation Army at their red kettles on and off for 50 years now. He can often be found at Wal-Mart greeting shoppers with cheerful messages of “Merry Christmas” and “God Bless.” Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Willis Pigman has been ringing bells for The Salvation Army at their red kettles on and off for 50 years now.

“I like to serve others and I feel this is what God wants me to do,” he said. “I don’t just do the kettles either. I help out at The Salvation Army and am a Sunday School teacher.”

Pigman, who is 82, has been with The Salvation Army since he was 8-years-old. He first started volunteering at the red kettles when he was 13.

“I was in the Corps Cadets, a Bible study for teenagers, and ringing the bells at the kettles was our service project,” Pigman said. “My fondest memories are of playing in the (Salvation Army) band at Christmas time. We’d go out and stand at the kettles and play. I’m the last of the band members who are still active.”

He’s been stationed at many places over the years, but Wal-Mart is where he spends most of this time these days.

“That’s where they put me because of my correspondence with others,” Pigman said. “I enjoy meeting new people.”

He makes a point of greeting as many people as he can during his shifts and is sure to share messages of “Merry Christmas” and “God Bless” with those who pass by him.

“The attitudes of people have changed some (over the years), but to me people are still friendly,” Pigman said. “I’ve had people tell me when they see me it starts to feel like Christmas.”

He doesn’t let people or the weather stop him from being cheery.

“I just dress for the weather,” Pigman said. “I was a scout leader for nine years and taught winter survival. You just have to dress to keep warm and stay active so you don’t get cold.”

Pigman worked at Isaly’s Dairy for 10 years and Pretty Products for 33 years. He was born and raised in Coshocton and lives in the house he grew up in on Pleasant Valley Drive. Pigman will turn 83 this month, but doesn’t plan on slowing down his presence at The Salvation Army red kettles.

“I’m going to keep doing this as long as I can,” he said. “I enjoy meeting people and talking to old classmates and people I worked with.”

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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