Royal OakOctober 17, 2012
Owl City has a ‘Good Time’ at local Salvation Army
By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer
ROYAL OAK — As each year goes by, times get a little bit tougher for The Salvation Army.
With military veterans, specifically from World War II, shrinking in numbers and their children now becoming grandparents, the charitable group is on the lookout for a way to connect with younger generations.
“Our typical volunteers are getting older and older,” said Major Monty Wandling, corps officer at the Royal Oak Community Corps Center. “It’s vital that we get the younger generation to do what their parents and grandparents were doing. Part of their life is serving and volunteering.”
Electronic pop-rock band Owl City is using their popularity to help. Known primarily for their two Billboard top-10 songs — 2009’s “Fireflies” and this summer’s “Good Time” — the band just wrapped up their second annual Rock the Red Kettle Tour, which visited 25 cities nationwide.
However, in addition to performing in each town, they also have been spending time volunteering at local Salvation Army sites in each city. They concluded their 2012 tour by volunteering for an hour Oct. 7 at the Royal Oak Community Corps Center, packing and moving boxes dedicated for Thanksgiving donations, before performing at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac that night.
“It was really kept quiet,” Wandling said. “It wasn’t a big event. They like to work and help wherever they are. We’re kind of their charity of choice. World War II veterans are quite elderly and their kids are grandparents now. What Owl City is doing is really getting the message out to the younger generation that we need people to come out and help.”
Owl City lead singer Adam Young said that the band thought volunteering is still an important value today.
“I am incredibly excited to partner with The Salvation Army,” Young said via email. “The Rock the Red Kettle Tour is a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of volunteering and giving back year round, and I am excited to do my part on the road this fall.”
Wandling said he was impressed with the work ethic of the band of 20-somethings.
“I’ve done a lot of PR events. I’ve seen where it’s a photo op,” Wandling said. “These guys finished what we had planned for them and finished 20 minutes ahead of time and wanted to stay and help. They were there to work.”
Owl City manager Steve Bursky said the band enjoys volunteering and feels they should do what they can to help.
“We believe that with success comes an obligation to give back,” Bursky said via email. “Adam has been blessed with a platform to reach people and wants to use it to do good. The Salvation Army has been an incredible partner. Adam and the band had an incredible time. It was so fulfilling to wrap up the volunteer experiences in the Midwest.”
Wandling hopes Owl City’s efforts have helped raise awareness for the importance of volunteering with The Salvation Army.
He said another way the organization is looking to reach out to more people is through an online donation site, www.onlineredkettle.org. The site allows people to create a donation page that people can donate to through PayPal, as opposed to the holiday bell-ringing tradition outside of retail department stores, which will still take place.
“It’s easy to set up and post on Twitter and Facebook,” said Wandling, who noted the donations could be designated for a specific Salvation Army program. “All the money raised through that goes directly to the (designated program).”
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