• 48°

Landis veteran gives back during Red Kettle Campaign

By Andie Foley
andie.foley@salisburypost.com

Kathryn McElhannon may have served her country through 13 years in the U.S. Army, but she’s not done yet.

This year, you’ll find her around town beside that recognizable red kettle as a bellringer for the Salvation Army.

Capt. Bobby Carr, of the Salvation Army, said all of the donations received through the Red Kettle Campaign stay in Rowan County.

Specifically, 85 percent of the money donated covers services such as clothing vouchers, Christmas food boxes, rent and utility assistance and other social services programs.  The remaining 15 percent goes toward Salvation Army administrative costs.

McElhannon, a mother of one, is already president of Landis Elementary School’s PTA. She and her son also donate to locals families in need at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Her son, seven-year-old Jared, gets to play Santa Claus, she said.

“He knows the true meaning of Christmas,” she said. “He knows anybody can be a Santa Claus, … that it means to give hope and to celebrate Christ’s birthday and to just pass forward, to bring other people hope that they can have something and that people care.”

This goal of enriching the lives of others, she said, is what inspired her to get involved with the Salvation Army. Pointedly, she wanted to foster a spirit of giving in the heart of her young son.

She said she felt the best way was to lead by example, a practice that helped her overcome obstacles earlier in life.

“I’ve seen the worst of the worst,” she said. “Now, I’m not at the best of the best but I’m not at my worst either. … (Giving back) is a blessing. I just wish there was more that I could do.”

In her 13 years of service, McElhannon served six overseas deployments and one humanitarian relief following hurricane Katrina.

She has since been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which along with other issues, has her 90 percent disabled and medically retired from the service.

Her retirement was hard, she said. Before becoming active in her son’s school and in her community, she struggled with depression, and a loss of her sense of self.

“With the military, once you get out, you don’t feel like you have a place anymore,” she said. “PTA filled that….”

But, she said, she uses the pain she experiences daily as extra motivation to carry on with her work.

“I use my pain as my motivation,” sad McElhannon. “My pain lets me know that I’m here. … I have brothers and sisters in arms who don’t get to feel pain. … I’m trying to go and do right by them: those that can no longer do.”

Comments

Local

Catawba holds baccalaureate services for Class of 2021

News

$9M settlement for two men wrongfully sent to death row

Nation/World

China lands spacecraft on Mars in latest advance for its space program

Business

Gas crunch hits Washington; Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million in Bitcoin ransome

Coronavirus

State mostly returns to normal operations after 15 months of lockdowns, restrictions

Crime

Blotter: Man accused of stealing car, crashing it

Crime

Man faces new charge of attempted murder for father’s shooting

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper lifts indoor mask mandate for most situations, gathering limits

Crime

Barnes gets new punishment of two life sentences in Tutterow couple’s 1992 murder

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday