• 64°

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

China Grove

China Grove firefighters injured after engine overturns

Business

Salisbury VA to reopen entry, exit gates

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for suspect in Burlington Coat Factory theft

Elections

Requests for absentee ballots top 9,000 in Rowan

Local

Spencer approves supplemental USDA loan for Park Plaza project

Business

11 locals will make up Empire Redevelopment Task Force

Local

New finance director excited to prove himself, continue on path set by predecessor

Coronavirus

County health officials report four new COVID-19 deaths

Elections

Trump promotes health care ‘vision’ at stop in Charlotte but gaps remain

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with stealing mom’s dog

Business

Rowan County hires Howden as new finance director

Local

Exhibit about Jim Crow-era travel on display at NC Transportation Museum

Elections

GOP elections board members resign over absentee settlement

Crime

Drive-by shooting injures 24-year-old Salisbury man

Crime

Highway Patrol: Vehicle fled after striking, killing pedestrian on Camp Road

Local

Locals to be inducted into NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

Business

Fall fun, with a twist: Patterson Farm adjusts to guidelines, offers new version of traditional events

Nation/World

Sayers, Piccolo friendship lives on in ‘Brian’s Song’

Education

Partners in learning passes last year’s special needs fashion show fundraiser with all-virtual event

Education

Shoutouts

Elections

Former history teacher to use ‘working knowledge of the issues’ in state House race

Business

Chamber adds more than 50 new businesses during Total Resource Campaign

Education

Virtually no internet: Rural NC families struggle with online access for school-age children

Education

School board candidates for Salisbury seat split on consolidation