BRYAN, Texas—While many of us spent the days leading up to the holidays working to get Christmas ready for our families, one local couple was busy working to help others have a better and brighter holiday.
For nearly the last eight years, Captains Paul and Analese Ryerson have been officers with The Salvation Army, and for the last two years with The Salvation Army of Bryan/College Station.
“But our ties with the Salvation Army go back much further than that,” said Captain Paul Ryerson.
Paul grew up with the organization. He's a third-generation officer, and Analese's parents joined later in their lives.
During the year, they help local families with food, rent, utilities, and many other needs, but the holidays are especially busy for them.
“On November 10th, we started our kettle campaign, and we had an official kickoff where we started Angel Tree,” said Paul.
The Angel Tree project has special meaning for both Paul and Analese.
They were both recipients as children.
“My mom said that she had stocked away a little pajama set that she had gotten from a baby shower, and that was to be my Christmas present,” said Analese.
Being part of the Angel Tree program as children made such an impact on them, that they decided later in life to join the Salvation Army.
They wanted to serve and help others, just like those people that pulled their names off the Angel Tree did, so many years ago.
“It helped them feel like good parents because they were able to take care of me,” said Analese.
The Ryersons know that this all wouldn't be possible without a strong, caring community behind them.
“I was absolutely blown away with the support from this community,” said Paul.
Paul said that last year alone, The Salvation Army helped 20,000 people in the Brazos Valley.
And, this year they set a record for the red kettle campaign raising over $199,000.
Paul said on Thursday a donor came forward and made up the difference, bringing the total to $200,000.
It was a good year for The Salvation Army BCS and the couple who is focused on doing the most good.