The popular carol Good King Wenceslas tells us of a king who travels through a storm to share his bounty with a peasant during Christmastide. Though the king's page struggles against the severe storm, he is enabled to continue their journey by walking in the king's footprints in the snow.
Meet Bill Schmidt, a modern day leader of giving, creating a path toward good works and leaving footprints on peoples' hearts.
This Saturday, Bill Schmidt will be outside the Giant of the Colonnade Shopping Center in Clifton, Virginia. Bill will be ringing a bell for the Salvation Army where he has been every Saturday during the holiday season for the last 17 years. He will arrive shortly before 8:00 a.m. and stay past 5:00 p.m. He has only recently reduced his stints to mere 9-hour shifts. Bill will enthusiastically greet hundreds of shoppers on their way in and out of the Giant. Many will enthusiastically respond, often by supporting this wonderful charity. They will all be thanked. They will all be blessed.
Bill is an amazing person and example to us all. I have known Bill for years through work on Bar Council and other Bar activities. There is no greater champion of the mid-year legal seminar. However, it is only recently that I learned of the magnitude of his work in his community. He serves as a CEO of the Fairfax Band, the nation’s “finest community band”. He serves on the Fairfax Bar Foundation working strenuously on both the Jazz for Justice Programs and the Capitol Development Campaign. I am sure that I am overlooking some if not many of his passions.
But, it is the Salvation Army where his true allegiance shines. His father, a World War II Veteran, often relates his appreciation for the works of the Salvation Army while stationed overseas during the war. Little gestures like free coffee mean an awful lot. Bill’s father never forgot their kindnesses and importance and neither has he.
Bill began his service to the Salvation Army by establishing a food drive contest among the tenants in his law building over the holidays. Tons of food donations were made and distributed to the Salvation Army. He joined their Board a couple years later. He has been buying gifts for the under privileged through their Angel Tree Program and ringing the bell ever since. There are a few sure things in life. However, you will find one outside the Clifton Giant on each Saturday during the holidays ringing the bell and greeting the masses. Bill is one of the Salvation Army’s finest ambassadors.
Bill is also one of Virginia’s finest citizen lawyers. We will be featuring Bill on an upcoming holiday episode of The Big Picture, http://bit.ly/BillSchmidt (This link will take you off of the Virginia State Bar site to YouTube.) which will be posting soon. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to you all and thanks, Bill, for all you do.
Originally posted December 16, 2009, updated with video link December 30, 2009