Meet January “Do the Right Thing” Winner: Ruth Coté

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — You don’t have to be Santa Claus to make a difference in children’s lives over the holidays.

Ruth Coté uses her volunteer work with the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program to do just that.

Instead of reindeer or a sleigh, she has a pair of red gloves to help get the job done.

That’s why Coté is this month’s Do the Right Thing winner.

Coté has been volunteering with the Salvation Army for 35 years.

She’s worn these red gloves for 21 of them, but only uses the gloves when helping with the Angel Tree program.

It’s a tradition.

“We lift those bags at least four, five times each, and so these gloves handle thousands and thousands of bags every Christmas,” Coté said.

Coté says they’re red for Christmas and the Salvation Army.

But they represent her love for helping others.

“There’s so many needs out there in the community,” she said. “There’s just so many people that you can help, and you just want to help everyone.”

Salvation Army Major Karen Lyle calls Coté a visionary.

“She is a lady who loves her community, and wants to serve the people who live here,” Lyle said. “She’s very giving of her time, and she’s the most Godliest woman I’ve ever met.”

Lyle says this hard worker spends 15 to 25 hours a week spearheading projects with the Women’s Auxiliary, especially with the Angel Tree program.

“She spends more time here than I do, sorting through all of the toys that go out to each child,” Lyle said. “I watched her some days that I was here this year, and she takes much care in what she does, and so I know the bags are prayed over. I know each family is going to get the best that she has.”

Coté says she’s passionate about volunteering here, and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“My heart just belongs to the Salvation Army, and that’s where I’ve been for 35 years, and that’s where I hope to stay for a few more years,” she said.

Categories: Do The Right Thing, Local News