It's difficult enough for a young person to tend to a Salvation Army red kettle in the Oklahoma weather. It's a little more difficult to do at age 93. But one metro man wouldn't have it any other way.
Alfonzo Walker is the oldest bell ringer in town, but he sees his age as an asset. He claims to have learned a lot in almost a century. The WWII veteran once found himself on the receiving end of the Salvation Army's compassion.
"I have never been a person that goes around moochin' on people," said Walker. "Anyway, they gave me some groceries."
Walker never forgot the assistance, and he soon became a driver for the Salvation Army. In the years since, he's become a bell ringer, stationed at the same Wal-mart at 23rd and Douglas Boulevard every Christmas season.
Walker raised $10,000 in donations during last year's Christmas shopping season, and hopes to top that this season.
He gets his share of regulars who chat him up before they drop money in the red kettle. But Walker, who's also a retired minister, doesn't leave it at "Merry Christmas." He also throws in his own brand of mini-sermons, encouraging to give for their own sake.
"We can be up today and down tomorrow," Walker chimes. "We never know when it comes time of our sorrows."
Walker's message is one of giving without expecting anything in return. He claims it's just common sense.
"It can happen overnight," Walker said. "You may be up today, and something could happen to you in a split second that you cry for help."