Exposures
December 23, 2012
I Care: Bell ringer enjoys holiday giving

20121220_AOC_ICareBell_273w.jpg Bundled up in red outside of Sam's Club in Arden Arcade, Carl Virgin (right) is a Salvation Army bell ringer. He bobs his head to jingle the six bells sewn atop his corkscrew mistletoe hat, enthusiastically luring donations from holiday shoppers. Virgin, 59, has spastic quadriplegia, a severe form of cerebral palsy. He communicates though head motions, eye movements and a large smile. His personal attendant gives out candy canes from his apron pocket to those who donate. It's his favorite thing.
Gail Johnson says her brother loves giving to others. "If he has money in his pocket he'll give it to someone." He and his roommate, Eugogio Lizarraga (below at left) agreed to ring the bell after learning The Salvation Army needed volunteers. "They are both happy, outgoing guys," Johnson says. "By doing this, they're giving back - and they really like that."
20121220_AOC_ICareBell_017w.jpg

Kim Bradley, a supervisor for STEP (Strategies To Empower People), said that they use the opportunity to educate the public about those living with disabilities. "A lot of people are afraid or they stare," she said. Virgin is very bright, but is unable to speak. The STEP personell who came with the pair during the four-hour bell ringing session encourage interaction with the public and answers questions that people have. "Kids see that (people with disabilities) are involved in the community and that they're like everybody else," she said.

20121220_AOC_ICareBell_124w.jpgThe money raised by Salvation Army bell ringers stay within the Sacramento area to help local people in need. They go to programs such as the food pantry, or the Christmas Assistance Program.
Virgin and Lizarraga are both very soft-hearted said Johnson. "They know everything that's going on," she said. "If there's something sad going on on TV they cry." For these two, ringing the Salvation Army bell is the perfect combination of helping others, being social and spreading their Christmas cheer.

For more on the Salvation Army and bell ringing visit www.salvationarmyusa.org

To suggest a volunteer with a story to tell please email Autumn Payne at apayne@sacbee.com.

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Watch Bee news, lifestyle videos | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying