DETROIT - On Wednesday night, while Ken Holland watched his Detroit Red Wings defeat the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, community members gathered at the Detroit Athletic Club as Holland was presented the 2016 William Booth Award by The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division.
"The Salvation Army is pleased to present our organization's highest individual honor, the William Booth Award, to Ken Holland, general manager of the Detroit Red Wings," said Lt. Colonel John Turner, divisional commander of The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division. "Named after our founder, this award is reserved for individuals who demonstrate outstanding humanitarian efforts within - and service to - the community through the donation of time, expertise and energy.
"For the past 11 years, Ken has engaged the entire Red Wings team in our Red Kettle campaign, raising tens of thousands of dollars for those in need in Metro Detroit. Ken embodies the true spirit of the William Booth Award and it is our sincere pleasure to honor him with this year's award."
While Holland couldn't attend The Salvation Army's Annual Civic Awards Dinner on Wednesday night to personally accept the award, he made sure to properly thank The Salvation Army for the honor by sending an acceptance video which was played during the event.
"I am very honored that The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division selected me as the recipient of the 2016 William Booth Award," Holland said in his acceptance video. "I have been the Red Kettle Campaign honorary co-chair for the past 11 years, and I'm very proud that the Red Wings and Salvation Army have teamed up to raise money and awareness for the incredible work that The Salvation Army does in our community for people in need."
As part of his 11 consecutive years as a Red Kettle Campaign co-chair, Holland has led the charge in the Red Wings for Red Kettles effort, helping generate over $100,000 since the campaign's inception in 2005.
The Red Kettle Campaign, which provides The Salvation Army with its largest source of funding each year, helps ensure the non-profit organization is able to continue its community assistance programs which include meals, lodging, utility assistance, free legal aid, after school programs, youth programs, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, disaster aid and more.
Each season, Red Wings players, alumni, coaches and management participate in the Red Wings for Red Kettles bell ringing competition at select locations throughout Metro Detroit where fans are encouraged to meet their favorite player or coach and contribute to the cause.
Last season, with the help of coach Jeff Blashill, Holland continued his streak of winning the friendly competition, amassing more than $6,000 of last year's total donation collection of nearly $14,000.
To put the Red Wings' impact into perspective, the average red kettle collects $200 in donations each day, and the donations collected by the four groups of Wings personnel in 2015 in just two hours would equal nearly 70 days of bell ringing.
"The Red Wings and The Salvation Army have many initiatives that we do together, but I'd like to talk about one; Red Wings for Red Kettles," Holland said. "It's a competition that we started in our locker room a number of years ago to help raise money and awareness for The Salvation Army.
"Every December, we find a day in our schedule where the players go out in the community and man a kettle for a couple of hours. I'm proud to report that the coach and the manager are undefeated. We love beating our players in the friendly competition, but all for a great cause."
John Hale, The Salvation Army's executive director of development, said that having Holland on board not only helps raise significantly more money at current bell ringing locations each year, but it also allows The Salvation Army to increase its fundraising efforts throughout Metro Detroit.
"Having the support of Ken Holland along with the entire Detroit Red Wings organization for the past 11 Red Kettle campaigns has really benefitted The Salvation Army," Hale said. "During that time, Ken's support has helped us add nearly 200 more kettle ringing locations and encouraged several corporate sponsors to join the cause.
"Having someone like Ken Holland support us for more than a decade as our Honorary Red Kettle chairperson has increased both the level of awareness and contributions. Ken is so well known and beloved in this community (and) he has been able to rally multitudes of people to aid in our cause."
A native of Vernon, British Columbia, Holland moved to the Metro Detroit area in 1995 with his wife Cindi and their four children, and immediately started contributing to local charitable efforts. The 60-year-old said he's proud to call Detroit his home and does everything he can to give back to the community, both locally and throughout the state.
"Detroit and Michigan have provided a quality of life to my family and I, and The Salvation Army has provided me an opportunity to give back," the Red Wings GM said. "Altogether, we have raised money and awareness for the work of the Salvation Army in our community, and all the money that is raised stays in our community to help the people in need."
This season, Holland will again lead the charge in the Red Wings for Red Kettles effort as campaign co-chair, and this year, The Salvation Army will look to have its biggest fundraising effort ever, hoping to raise at least $8.4 million before the campaign ends on New Year's Eve.
Holland said he couldn't be more proud to assist The Salvation Army in its efforts to make a difference in people's lives, and he was sincerely thankful to receive the organization's highest individual award.
"I want to thank the Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division for the William Booth Award," Holland said to end his acceptance video. "But much more importantly, thank you to The Salvation Army people who devote your lives to helping people in need in our community. Your commitment, your passion, your devotion helps make a difference people's lives. You not only provide food and shelter, you help provide hope and dignity. Thank you."