It's one of the more honorable expressions of volunteering you can perform.
Jared Plesec, a white man in Cleveland, was on his way to stand by a Red Kettle, ring the Christmas bell, and collect donations for the Salvation Army.
|Just another black on white killing...|
All with the goal of improving his community.
He would never make it to the Red Kettle. [Salvation Army worker fatally shot in Cleveland was known throughout city as mentor for kids, Cleveland.com, 12-4-17]:
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The 21-year-old Salvation Army worker killed Saturday at the beginning of a crime spree that included four carjackings and the shooting of a 65-year-old woman was known throughout the city as a leader and mentor for kids, his supervisor said.
Jared Plesec, 21, worked as a youth mentor for the Salvation Army at the Salvation Army Temple Corps Community Center in Collinwood for about three years, according to Maj. Lurlene Johnson, who supervises all of the Salvation Army's Northeast Ohio operations.
Plesec died Saturday in the lobby of his apartment complex on East 156th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. He was in his full Salvation Army uniform and had a Bible in his hands when he was shot, prosecutors said. Johnson said he was on his way to stand at a Red Kettle to collect donations.
"That's just the kind of person he was," Johnson said. "He was fearless in his faith."
Johnson said he was trying to preach understanding to the William Jones, the 27-year-old man now charged in his shooting death. After the shooting, Jones carried out four other carjackings in Cleveland and Lakewood and shot a 65-year-old woman who survived, according to police.
Jones was arrested and is being held in jail on $5 million bond on an aggravated murder charge. Police have not yet released a motive for the shooting.Plesec's death left a void in the Collinwood community, Johnson said. In an organization filled with people who dedicate their lives to charity and helping others, Plesec stood out, she said.
"You see so many good people here and then you come across someone like Jared, who had such a deep level of care for other people," Johnson said. "He was just excited about life and that rubbed off on everyone."
Salvation Army Maj. Daniel Alverio, who was Plesec's direct supervisor, said Plesec grew up in the area and graduated from Villa Angela St. Joseph's near the top of his class. He used the community center weight room a few times with friends when he was about 15 years old and was eventually invited to a Bible study class, Alverio said.
From that point, he was hooked.
"He just really started wondering about God, started coming to church and really fell in love with the ministry to his community," Alverio said. "He wanted to do this the rest of his life. There was nothing else he wanted but to stay here."
Alverio said Plesec's mother died about 18 months ago and that he gave his mother's eulogy.
Even with personal heartache, Plesec spent countless hours mentoring teens. He helped them deal with bullies or challenged teens who had joined street gangs to better themselves, Alverio said. He even took calls at 2 a.m., once helping convince a teen who ran away from home to return in the middle of the night, Alverio said.He had a Bible in his hands when a black man shot him to death.
He was going to ring a bell by a Red Kettle to collect donations for the Salvation Army, a way help improve the less fortunate this Christmas season.
His Name is Jared Plesec.