Pay it Forward salutes Salvation Army volunteer in Clinton

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CLINTON, Iowa -- Box by box at Clinton's Salvation Army, Tom Otto is busy before the office even opens.

The longtime volunteer, 65, is fighting hunger with each box of donations.

"It makes me feel wonderful," he said. "It fills a void in my heart that God wanted me to do. He laid it on my heart, and I'm doing it."

While Tom retired after many years with Clinton schools, he's not kicking back and taking it easy.

Clinton's food pantries are seeing more first-time recipients.  om and his wife, Pam, are reaching out to those who need help the most.

"They are such selfless people, who are always willing to help others," said Allyson Phillips, a marketing specialist at Ascentra Credit Union.

That generosity is also recognized by friends at the Salvation Army.

"He's always here," said Corps Officer Justin Hartley. "He's willing to do whatever we need, and we really couldn't do it without him."

"He does a lot for this community," added colleague Martha Boatwright.

Since demand is higher at the food pantry, that makes Tom's volunteer support even more important.

"I help stock shelves in the food pantry to make sure they have food to keep going," said Tom.

That's why Martha is making a special delivery at Salvation Army.

"On behalf of News Eight and Ascentra Credit Union, I would like to pay it forward with $300," she said.

"I was really surprised," Tom responded. "I wasn't expecting it. I don't do this for money."

Each box is like a mission for Tom Otto. That mission will continue to help others at Salvation Army.

"I like people," he continued. I've worked with people all my life, and I like being involved."

"He's a great guy," added Hartley.  "He has a great presence. Everybody likes Tom and enjoys him being around."

And, box by box, fighting hunger in the Clinton community.

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