Belleville Man Recognizes Kettle Volunteer as Long-lost Brother

Belleville Man Recognizes Kettle Volunteer as Long-lost Brother
Categories: Newswire

They hadn’t seen each other, or spoken, for 28 years when Mike Horsburgh flipped open his local newspaper to read that his brother, Bill, was volunteering with The Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle campaign.

“I hadn’t seen Mike, or my other siblings, since my father’s funeral in 1989,” says Bill. “Time, distance and sometimes hard feelings separated us.”

Three years ago, Bill, now retired, moved back to his hometown of Belleville to try and reconnect with his siblings. “I wanted to find my family and benefit from their support,” says Bill, whose wife had just passed.

Meanwhile, Mike was on his own mission to find Bill―each brother unaware of the other’s search.

“When I arrived in Belleville, I started volunteering with The Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle campaign and warm room, which offers a free hot meal during the winter months,” says Bill. “I wanted to give back to The Salvation Army for what they did for me.”

Bill credits The Salvation Army with saving his life. Decades ago, he participated in The Salvation Army’s addiction treatment and transitional housing program.

“I was an alcoholic and heroin addict,” says Bill. “Without the help and support I received from The Salvation Army, I would be dead.”

When Mike read about Bill’s volunteering he contacted the local Salvation Army and the two reconnected later that day. It was an emotional reunion.

“We met over coffee,” says Bill. “We hugged, we cried. We talked about old times and family members who I had lost contact with. I learned I had nieces and nephews.”

The brothers discovered that for the last three years they’d lived only blocks away from each other.

“I see Mike every day,” says Bill. “We chat over coffee and I feel great because we’re going to keep the family together.”

Bill is a valued volunteer who donates 148 hours of his time during the Christmas season. For more information on volunteering with The Salvation Army, click here.