Early Saturday morning, piles of donated clothes and furniture line the bright yellow wall near the back door of the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It's a half-hour before the store officially opens, but volunteer Willie Pippins is a blur of action.
In a few minutes, the pile is gone, moved indoors and sorted. Willie pulls out an old lawn mower, coaxes it to life and attacks the grass surrounding the store. In a few quick passes, the lawns are tamed, and he's on to the next thing. Inside, he buzzes around the racks, putting out new donations, hanging clothes and spiffing up displays.
Not much goes undone when Willie is around.
"You never know when he's going to pop up," says Kim Gilleylen, a cashier at the store. "He does it all, and he doesn't hesitate."
Willie spends a few days a week at the store. "I come over whenever I'm bored," he says. "There's always something going on over here. Things to do."
As the clock nears 10 a.m., Willie turns the key in the front doors and swings them both wide. As customers filter in the front, he moves to the back again, looking for more work to do.
A small train of sport utility vehicles pulls into the parking lot, dropping off bags of clothes and a few chairs.
Weekends are garage sale days, Willie explains, and people donate what they can't sell. He greets them with a smile and a helping hand.
The donations pile up against the yellow wall, and in a few minutes, Willie is taking the last chair inside. Another job completed.
- 062808 004A jr Salvation Army Remodel.JPG
- Columbia Daily Tribune 2008
- Image Size
- 2958x2046 / 3.3MB
- Contained in galleries
- Our Town