CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – He brings his own soundtrack and wears his dress uniform.
There’s a dancing, singing and sometimes lip-syncing Salvation Army Captain who is not only collecting donations, but smiles this holiday season.
“My own Charlie Brown, James Brown, Chaka from Africa kind of thing,” said Capt. Chaka Watch.
Many shoppers were surprised and all began to smile as they entered Dave’s Market and Eatery on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights Wednesday.
Capt. Watch was there greeting them — ringing a bell to renditions of holiday classics like “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”
His infectious personality and moves inspired most people to donate and more than a few to dance along with him, especially families and even store employees.
“It’s just exciting. I’m glad someone is out here that cares about other people’s joy. Out here making people happy,” said shopper Seniya Reaves.
Capt. Watch is originally from Zimbabwe and says he’s been involved with the Salvation Army almost his entire life.
“Like a fifth-generation Salvation Army,” said Watch, “It’s huge, it’s beautiful, it’s Godly, it’s what the world needs.”
He says his added experience as a broadcaster and songwriter helped him to begin performing during the yearly Red Kettle Campaigns to make it more exciting and attract more donations.
While working in New York City, he became famous for his routines and appeared on national television.
Now, Northeast Ohio is lucky to welcome Capt. Watch to town as the new Salvation Army Corps Officer in East Cleveland.
“Whatever I’m doing, if I’m dancing, I’m bringing people joy, bringing people love. In my own way, I’m preaching the word of God,” he said.
Capt. Watch says he is grateful for the warm reception, but especially all of the donations his dancing garners.
He says every little bit helps and he is grateful for the support.
“If a young child comes to the Christmas tree and there’s toys because somebody in Cleveland donated one dollar and that makes the whole difference,” Watch said.
Salvation Army donations are tax deductible and help provide food, shelter, rent and utilities assistance to those in need.