In the 1930s, a young woman named Ileen suddenly found herself alone at the age of 11.
She had been living in Seaside with her father, after her mother died when she was young, running a small store to make money.
One day, Ileen came home from visiting a friend when she saw a note left for her: “Ileen, I love you dearly. There’s spaghetti in the icebox. From, your father.”
Ileen felt the note “didn’t read right,” somehow, so she went across the street to the saloon and asked if the barkeep had seen her father.
That’s when the police cars pulled up, and officers went into the saloon to report what had happened. In one of the cars was the man who, turns out, had shot and killed Ileen’s father moments before.
Ileen, now an orphan, had nowhere to go.
“But that’s when the Salvation Army came in,” her son Bob Kellar recalled decades later. “They took my mother in and she grew up in their orphanage from age 11 to 18.”
To show his gratitude, the Santa Clarita councilman plans to give back this Saturday by ringing the bell for the Salvation Army Santa Clarita Valley Corps at the Canyon Country Vons from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
He wants to honor the memory of his mother, who died on New Year’s Eve 1998.
“I’ve made these comments to others, and I’m not shy about it,” Kellar said. “I’m very sensitive to the Salvation Army and how they helped my mother out. I never walk past a red kettle and don’t make a contribution. They raised my mother, and they have so many programs of helping people that are less fortunate. For homeless people, children’s programs, camps for children, alcohol and drug abuse programs. Thank God we have the Salvation Army in America.”
Kellar is on the advisory board for the Santa Clarita chapter. He said he encourages all community members to come out to the Canyon Country Vons to donate. All contributions will be to the Salvation Army chapter in the SCV.
“I look forward to shaking their hands and telling them, ‘Thank you,’ for supporting the Salvation Army,” Kellar said. “It’s so near and dear to my heart.”