Meer fills the kettle

December 26, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY – The results are in from the Salvation Army’s inaugural Battle of the Mayors, and Michigan City’s Ron Meer apparently scored a TKO.

The competition with La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz was to see who could raise the most money during a 10-hour shift at one of the red kettle locations – Meer at Al’s Supermarket in Karwick Plaza, and Krentz at Kroger in La Porte.

When the bell ringing was done and the money counted, Meer and his team had taken in $3,631.50 compared to $2,589.64 for the La Porte team.

Everyone involved agreed the real winner was both of La Porte County’s Salvation Army branches and the communities they serve.

“This was such an exciting day for The Salvation Army,” Major Dale Simmons of The Salvation Army of Michigan City said. “We just came to Michigan City in June, so we’re new to this community. But this was a fun way to get to know our mayor, get to know the city, and have a fun way of getting our message out there.”

Meer didn’t hold back in getting his family and friends involved. He started the day ringing with his wife, Agnes; mother, Morene; and Police Chief Mark Swistek. But he also had representation from the Michigan City Fire Department, Promise Scholarship office, Planning Department and others.

Calling it a “gentleman’s battle” from the beginning, Meer was still proud that his city received the first trophy in the friendly rivalry, and expressed gratitude to everyone who helped support his efforts.

Meer didn’t spend much time celebrating, though. The next day he was out on Michigan Boulevard giving away 200 turkeys he bought to families in need.

“It’s just something we wanted to do,” Meer said of buying the birds, which, despite not being advertised, were given away in just over an hour.

Although the La Porte team came in second, Captain Justin Windell from The Salvation Army of La Porte said he was grateful.

“We were truly blessed to have Mayor Krentz and his wife volunteer to ring the bell for us,” he said. “They were on hand all day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and brought with them a great sense of holiday spirit and joy as they welcomed people at their location.”

Krentz also had a number of friends pitching in on Thursday, including representatives from the city government, first responders and even some musical accompaniment.

“This all helped to propel us through our last few days of ringing as we strive to make our goal,” Windell said.

Money raised during the event will help fund seasonal assistance for The Salvation Army, but also support programs and services throughout the year.

For more about programs in La Porte County, call The Salvation Army of Michigan City at 219-874-6885; or The Salvation Army of La Porte at 219-326-5342.

Update hourly