Sheriff Lott, deputies, and the Grinch ring bells for the Salvation Army

Record-setting Sheriff’s Department welcomes holiday shoppers in northeast Columbia

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) – primarily RCSD’s command staff and members of RCSD’s Community Action Team – were out in force ringing the bells from 10:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. at the northeast Columbia location of Walmart 10060 Two Notch Road, Thursday, Dec. 7.

This year, the Grinch (aka Maj. Rafael Gonzales) joined the RCSD bell-ringers to the delight of children shopping with parents.

With blue lights flashing, four RCSD vehicles were positioned adjacent to both Walmart entrances. Christmas music was playing over a special speaker from one of the vehicles, and the department’s new crisis-intervention dog, CJ, a K-9 member of RCSD’s Wellness and Resiliency Unit, was also on hand greeting everyone during the late afternoon.

Sheriff Lott’s shift was from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The recipient of this year’s Salvation Army Bell-ringer Commendation Award, Lott and his RCSD holds the current record for most money raised by an organization in a single day at one location. The amount raised by RCSD in 2022 was $2,349. The previous year’s record set by RCSD was $1,473. RCSD broke its 2021 record by $876, and Salvation Army officials say any single-day kettle amount over $500 is considered a “very good” day.

– Pictured are Sheriff Lott, deputies, and the Grinch.

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