Salvation Army Mystery Coin Donors Give $10,000, Reveal Identities After 15 Years

01/20/2012 09:35 am ET | Updated Jan 20, 2012

In Gettysburg, Penn., part of the magic of Christmas has included a mysterious gold coin anonymously dropped into a Salvation Army red kettle every year since 1996.

After giving almost $10,000 in special coins over the years, the donors have finally revealed their identities, the Gettysburg Times announced.

Dick and Ruth Jean Unger, who had long asked to remain nameless, finally went public because so many people wanted to know who was behind the kind-hearted deed.

Dick Unger, who has served in the military, worked as an x-ray technician and in the insurance field, told the Times that the Salvation Army remains one of their favorite charities. He and his wife are lifelong residents of the area.

Salvation Army Regional Director Cindy Yearsley said the couple's generosity has had a huge impact:

“So many individuals and families have been helped by the Unger’s generosity that we owe them our most sincere appreciation.”

And perhaps in their 15 years of anonymous coin-dropping, they inspired a few other mystery-givers.

In early December, a Wisconsin bell ringer found a gold coin in his red kettle. It was valued at $1,600 according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

And it's not just coins. The Salvation Army reported two incidences of diamond rings being dropped into their donation kettles this year.

According to Reuters, one ring dropped into a kettle in Miami had diamonds and sapphires and was wrapped in a $50 bill with a note inside:

"They need more than I. Do good! A Friend."