NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The name Bob Sitton may not ring a bell in the minds of all Stephen F. Austin State University students and alumni, but the former SFA alumni director successfully rings a bell for the Salvation Army in Nacogdoches.
Sitton is one of those guys who never meets a stranger. The trait came in handy when Sitton raised scholarship funds at SFA. It also helps when one is ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.
"Thank you buddy," Sitton said as he was ringing the bell. "Appreciate you. Yes sir."
If Sitton doesn't know you, he'll get to know you.
"What's your name?" Sitton said to one person. "They call me R.J."
And the people who Sitton knows, which is just about everyone in Cushing, usually get a hug.
"This is my classmate. You devil you," Sitton said. "These are two members of the great class of '56 at Cushing high school, and his wife is one of my former students."
The friendliness seemed to put people into a giving mood.
"I try to speak to most of the people who come by," Sitton said. Some look the other way and some step up and put money in the kitty."
"Oh, you sure? Ho,ho,ho," Sitton said to another person who donated. "Appreciate you. $20 bill, yeah I don't see many of those."
Sitton is a loyal SFA Lumberjack, but he applies the philosophy of another coach to his volunteer work.
"I like what John Wooden said many years ago," Sitton said. "He was a ten-time national championship coach of the UCLA Bruins. One of his quotes was, 'You haven't had a perfect day until you've done something for somebody that can't repay you.'"
If only more people thought that way, there wouldn't be a shortage of Salvation Army bell ringers. Two hours of service is all they ask.
"People are always bringing coffee or cookies or stories and God blessing you and saying thank you, so it's really a joyful time," said Sherry Pfaffenberg, the Salvation Army's volunteer coordinator.
That's especially true if you follow Sitton's technique.
Anyone wanting to be a Salvation Army bell ringer can sign up by calling the Salvation Army office at (936) 568-0900 or texting Molly Hoya at (936) 645-0657.