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Veteran volunteer awarded Salvation Army’s highest honor

Recorder/David Rainville
Richard Kimball received the Salvation Army's William Booth Award Friday. He stands with Majors David and Naomi Kelly, commanders of the Salvation Army's Massachusetts division, and Capt. Dan Brunelle of the Salvation Army's Greenfield Corps. Friday during the award ceremony.

Recorder/David Rainville Richard Kimball received the Salvation Army's William Booth Award Friday. He stands with Majors David and Naomi Kelly, commanders of the Salvation Army's Massachusetts division, and Capt. Dan Brunelle of the Salvation Army's Greenfield Corps. Friday during the award ceremony.

GREENFIELD — Greenfield native Richard Kimball came to the Salvation Army Friday evening for dinner, but he didn’t know he’d be the guest of honor.

Kimball, 88, received the William Booth award, the top honor given by the Salvation Army. It is named for the group’s founder, who started the Salvation Army in 1865.

“This award is given to individuals that have evidenced a deep concern for others, as exemplified by William Booth,” said Dan Brunelle, captain of the Greenfield Salvation Army. “It recognizes outstanding contributions to the betterment of humanity through personal participation in civic and philanthropic affairs.”

“The Salvation Army has been one of the biggest things in my life, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said Kimball after accepting the award.

“He’s humble and dedicated. He loves God, and he loves to help people,” said Brunelle of Kimball. “He’s a very caring person, and he’s done countless things behind the scenes to help a lot of people in the community.”

Kimball, a family man, Marine Corps veteran and former businessman, can often be seen at Foster’s Super Market, shaking his tambourine and gathering donations for the Salvation Army, said Brunelle.

Kimball’s family came out for the occasion, some from nearby, others from as far as Pennsylvania and Colorado. He was touched that his children and grandchildren could make it out for his surprise award.

Brunelle said the prestigious William Booth Award was approved and signed by national Salvation Army Commissioner Israel Gathier. The honor came with a statue of Booth, and a framed certificate.

Brunelle said he couldn’t find any record that the Greenfield corps has ever given out the award before.

Kimball has been with the Salvation Army for more than 40 years, and has already received the organization’s other two top honors.

In 1985, he was named a life member of the Greenfield corps’ advisory board. In 1980, he was given the Others award for meritorious service.

That award was named for a message Booth sent to individual Salvation Army corps. It was the early 1900s, and it was expensive to send messages via telegram, so Booth kept it to one word. That word, “others,” was meant to remind Salvation Army members of their mission of service to others.

Kimball was also the 1995 recipient of The Recorder’s Franklin County Citizen of the Year Award. Rather than take his half of the $500 award money, he had the check made out to the Salvation Army.

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