Only John and Dwin Schuler, the forces behind Wellesley’s annual holiday-time Salvation Army (SA) Red Kettle Campaign, could simultaneously accept an award and deflect the attention away from themselves and onto others. Why has the husband- and-wife team for 25 years volunteered countless hours in service to collecting donations for community members in need? According to John as he accepted the SA’s Joseph P. Barnes Memorial Award, they do it, “To make sure that voices who cry out for assistance are easily and rapidly heard.”
To make red kettle time happen, every November Dwin starts working the phones in search of volunteers, many who have been waiting for the call. She shamelessly promises good weather for all shifts. Then, when volunteers end up standing in the inevitable cold winds, snow, and rain, Dwin just says, “Don’t you feel good at the end of your shift after what you’ve done?”
What volunteers do is substantial. Their bell-ringing efforts in 2019 helped raise over $25,000 at the Roche Bros. kettle in Linden Square, funds that help those in need right here in town. Money raised is distributed to those in need by the Wellesley Council on Aging, Wellesley Department of Health, and Wellesley Friendly Aid. Holiday-time services include providing toys for needy children, food and clothing for families, and small practical gifts for shut-ins. The effort is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Wellesley
Janice Coduri, President of the Kiwanis Club, compared the Schulers to Christmas-time legends. “Dwin is Santa. She checks her list and makes sure it’s accurate. You are our conscious, Dwin. John is Bob Cratchit. He toils away at Waterstone, making sure the money is accounted for.”
Although the Schulers have officially stepped down from their volunteer efforts, there’s no doubt the red kettle bells will still ring next year. Many, though, will miss that annual ring of the telephone in November, with Dwin on the other end, not taking no for an answer.
This year we signed up online. It was quick. It was easy. We got handy email reminders to show up. It’s the way of the world today.
Thanks, Dwin and John, for the way you did things. As Salvation Army representative Major David B. Davis said, “We’re so thankful to be able to call you friends.”