Bell Ringer of the Day
Each day leading up ’til Christmas, KOOL 108 and The Salvation Army will honor a Bell Ringer of the Day. In addition to being recognized on KOOL 108, each volunteer will receive tickets to an upcoming holiday concert from the radio station.
Read below to meet each one. Then, if you’re in their neighborhood, be sure to stop by and thank them for being an outstanding Salvation Army volunteer.
Know an outstanding bell ringer? Nominate them to be bell ringer of the day.
Tuesday, Dec. 24: Polly Cutter
When/Time: Tuesday, Dec. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Byerly’s, Edina
Meet the Ringer: Polly Cutter was inspired to start ringing bells for The Salvation Army by a woman named Mary Liddecoat – an angel who is now in heaven. Polly is passionate about The Salvation Army and serving her lord our savior, Jesus Christ. So passionate, that she sings familiar Christmas tunes and tells people about the wonderful work of The Salvation Army every time she rings bells. Polly truly touches the lives of everyone she meets. The Salvation Army is honored to recognize her.
Monday, Dec. 23: Daigle family
When/Time: Monday, Dec. 23 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Location: Walmart, Hastings
Meet the Ringer: Today’s ringer is the Daigle family. Nancy, her 9-year-old daughter, Katrina, and 11-year-old son, Matthew, began ringing five years ago after Nancy’s father passed away on Christmas Eve. He fought a courageous battle with cancer and they wanted to do something in his memory. Over the years, the number of family members participating in this annual tradition has grown to ten. She calls the group the Almquist Family Bell Ringers and Singers. They are always at the same location and can be found singing jingle bells to the beat of toy drums and maracas. Nancy’s favorite part of bell ringing is knowing her dad is smiling down from heaven, singing along with them to songs like Silent Night.
Friday, Dec. 20: Phyllis Kohler
When/Time: Friday, Dec. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: Byerly’s, Edina
Meet the Ringer: Phyllis Kohler (pictured, middle right) started bell ringing 10 years ago with her late husband, Joe. This year she is ringing with three friends – Terry and Carol Kapsen (pictured, left), and Bob Hobbins (far right). All four of them asked their friends to stop by and bring donations to their kettle tonight. The group plans to hand out candy and play Christmas music. One of Phyllis’s most treasured moments at the kettle happened a few years ago when an anonymous person brought her hot chocolate in the freezing cold. Phyllis and her late husband created a sizeable memorial fund to benefit the Eastside Salvation Army in St. Paul. The fund was supported by their friends and a man named Hap Fauth, president of Churchill Companies. Phyllis said Joe loved The Salvation Army and was honored to serve people in need, particularly children.
Thursday, Dec. 19: Carl Pierret
When/Time: Thursday, Dec. 19 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Location: Cub Foods, Blaine (Northtown Mall)
Meet the Ringer: Carl Pierret was inspired to bell ring once he found out how much of every dollar donated to The Salvation Army goes to helping people in need (about 82 cents). So inspired, that he decided to start bell ringing eight years ago and hasn’t stopped. He enjoys hearing the comments and stories people tell him about how they have personally been helped by The Salvation Army – particularly older veterans. During winter, he and his wife, Joyce, typically go somewhere warm to escape the cold – but they’re staying in Minnesota this year because Carl is an avid snowmobiler.
Wednesday, Dec. 18: Wendy Dellis
When/Time: Wednesday, Dec. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: Rainbow Foods, Eden Prairie
Meet the Ringer: Wendy Dellis (pictured, middle) makes it a point to bell ring with her friend Mimi (right) every Christmas season. Wendy was inspired to start when she signed her children up to ring at Wooddale church. “It’s an easy, fun way to help people in need and really give back,” she said. Wendy and Mimi sing and dance to Christmas music at their kettle – although Wendy says Mimi is the one who carries the rhythm and beat. Wendy is a special education teacher who enjoys running marathons, skate-skiing and paddle boarding.
Tuesday, Dec. 17: Frank Marano
When/Time: Tuesday, Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to Noon
Location: Rainbow Foods, Roseville
Meet the Ringer: Sometime last year, Frank Marano determined he needed to stop thinking about himself and do more to help others. That’s where bell ringing came in. He knew The Salvation Army was a great organization that helps people, and simply thought that if he could ring bells and raise money, The Salvation Army could help more people. (He’s right.) In addition to bell ringing, Frank whiles away the winter by bowling, ice skating and whistling Christmas carols.
Monday, Dec. 16: Paul Gagne
When/Time: Monday, Dec. 16 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Location: Byerly’s, main entrance, Maple Grove
Meet the Ringer: Paul Gagne and his 13-year-old grandniece, Samantha, have made bell ringing a Christmas tradition for the past three years. At the kettle they sing songs like “Jingle Bell Rock” and talk to people about why they give. Paul started ringing because he wanted to create Christmas traditions and teach Samantha the importance of giving back to people. They also love baking cookies, wrapping presents and spending time with their family. When you see them today, be sure to ask them to sing for you – it’ll be music to your ears.
Friday, Dec. 13: David Devine
When/Time: Friday, Dec. 13 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Location: Cub Foods, Forest Lake
Meet the Ringer: David Devine has been close to The Salvation Army his entire life. As a boy, he received Christmas presents from The Salvation Army and attended our summer camps. He went on to become a firefighter and Vietnam veteran, witnessing firsthand how The Salvation Army provides assistance to soldiers, first responders and survivors. He’s been bell ringing for 10 years. He dresses up as Santa and is accompanied by two special elves – his daughters. Together, they hand out candy canes and take lots of pictures with children passing by. And yes, his beard is real. He begins growing it every June and then shaves it off after Christmas.
Thursday, Dec. 12: Gene and Pat Readel
When/Time: Thursday, Dec. 12 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Location: Midway Rainbow Foods, St. Paul
Meet the Ringer: Gene and Pat Readel began volunteering for The Salvation Army way back in 1970, serving meals during the holidays and distributing Christmas gifts at our Toy Shops. They’ve been bell ringing in the Midway area of St. Paul for the past seven years. They’ve become virtual grandparents to many at-risk kids in these rough neighborhoods. They are incredibly gracious and loving, doing whatever they can to help people in need because God has been so good to them. They are pictured on their 50th wedding anniversary in 2010.
Wednesday, Dec. 11: Sherry Howe
When/Time: Wednesday, Dec. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Alliance Center, downtown St. Paul
Meet the Ringer: Sherry Howe has been ringing on behalf of the Saint Paul Rotary Club for 25 years. One of the most touching moments she experienced was when a man put money in her kettle and started a Christmas sing along; a hearing impaired woman then came up and began signing the words to the song. Sherry gives back because she feels her life is a blessing. Bell ringing and helping The Salvation Army provide kids with back-to-school clothes, as well as being a part of the rotary club, are just a couple of ways she makes the Twin Cities a better place.
Tuesday, Dec. 10: Mario Resendez
When/Time: Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Location: Cub Foods, north main entrance, West St. Paul
Meet the Ringer: Six people nominated Mario Resendez to be today’s Bell Ringer of the Day. They described him as a hardworking, compassionate man who promotes bell ringing to everyone he meets. Mario is ringing almost every day this season after being inspired by seeing others ring in years past. When he is not bell ringing, he loves spending time with his grandkids and dabbling in photography.
Monday, Dec. 9: Erik Lovdahl
When/Time: Monday, Dec. 9 from Noon to 2 p.m.
Location: Macy’s, Rosedale Center, upper West door
Meet the Ringer: Five years ago, Shoreview resident Erik Lovdahl heard The Salvation Army was in desperate need of bell ringers. He signed up and hasn’t stopped ringing. He’s continued to bell ring over the years because he loves the people he meets and the spirit of Christmas – people are in great moods, there’s magic in the air and the generosity of others is inspiring, he said. When Erik is not ringing bells, he spends time with his lovely wife and their three teenage children, walks his dog through the woods and follows Minnesota sports.
Friday, Dec. 6: Randy Sparling
When/Time: Friday, Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Mills Fleet Farm (main entrance), Lakeville
Meet the Ringer: Randy Sparling has been ringing on behalf of the Lakeville Rotary Club since 1998. That year, while serving as president of the club, he asked its members to start bell ringing. They haven’t stopped since, taking the second Friday after Thanksgiving for the past 15 years. The group has expanded to the point that club members staff two sites, where they often sing or play musical instruments. Randy and Co. are known to contribute added money to their kettles through kettle-matching funds.
Thursday, Dec. 5: Alyssa Quinones
When/Time: Thursday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Location: Mall of America, east wing, second level
Meet the Ringer: At just 11 years old, Alyssa Quinones has already been bell ringing six years straight. Her parents and brother, Anthony, have accompanied her at the kettle since she was 5 years old. Together, they love giving back. Alyssa started the tradition and plans to continue it with her own family someday. When she isn’t bell ringing, she loves art and playing volleyball.
Wednesday, Dec. 4: Fahnlander Family
Location: Cub Foods in Plymouth (Vicksburg Lane)
Meet the Ringer: Today’s Bell Ringer of the Day is an entire family – the Fahnlanders. Parents Vince and Linda and their six – six! – kids, ages 4 to 12, got hooked on ringing several years ago. They’ve since taken their bell ringing shifts to new heights: In addition to making music by ringing bells, Linda plays the flute and her children sing Christmas carols.
Tuesday, Dec. 3: Peter Stasica
When/Time: Tuesday, Dec. 3 from 4 to 8 p.m.
Location: Cub Foods in Coon Rapids
Meet the Ringer: Today’s Bell Ringer of the Day is Peter Stasica of Coon Rapids. Peter has been ringing every Christmas season since 2007. He keeps coming back because there is a need and the money he raises goes to a good place, he said. Peter also makes it a habit to volunteer for the City of Coon Rapids Park Trail. He says volunteering is essential because if no one volunteers, nothing gets done.
Monday, Dec. 2: Tom Brewitz
When/Time: Monday, Dec. 2 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: Walmart in Woodury
Meet the Ringer: Tom Brewitz of St. Paul gets his volunteer spirit from his late father. Tom’s dad rang bells with the Knights of Columbus, and Tom continues to volunteer in his honor. Tom will be look and sound like Christmas when you see him – he sings and wears a Santa hat during his shift. His favorite part of being a bell ringer is the connection he has with people, and the songs of joy that touch their hearts. Tom will be ringing from 6-8pm at the Walmart in Woodbury.