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[Newsmaker] Anonymous donor warms the heart

A 60-something man in a dark-brown checkered coat approached a Salvation Army officer manning a red kettle in Myeong-dong, a fashion and shopping district in Seoul on Sunday. The man put a white envelope in the red kettle, saying, “Please use it for the elderly in need.”

He then took a taxi and disappeared.

The Salvation Army Korea Territory later found a check of around 106 million won ($98,300) with a letter in the envelope while counting up donations.

“My parents kept a sense of sharing, helped neighbors and led thrift lives during their lifetime,” said the man in the letter, who identified himself as a resident in Sinwol-dong in western Seoul.

“I send a small seed to the Salvation Army’s noble and holy forest out of respect for my parents’ wishes.”

The donation is not only the largest amount for the red kettle fundraiser this year, but also the second of its kind, following one last year.

The man could be, according to the Salvation Army, the same person who put 110 million won in a red kettle, also in Myeong-dong last year.

“Looking at the content and handwriting of the letter and the bank that issued the checks, the donors last year and this year are the same person,” concluded Hong Bong-sik, public relations secretary of the Salvation Army Korea Territory.

The 2011 donation is the largest donation raised through the fundraiser since its start in 1928.

“The Salvation Army will use the donation in respect of the donor’s wish for the marginalized elders.”

The spirit of the man has touched the minds of the public, much like sound of the Salvation Army’s hand bells resonates through the streets.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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