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Kool 108 Bell Ringer of the Day

Bell Ringer of the Day

Each weekday 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 a prize from the radio station.

Read below to meet each ringer. Then, if you’re in their neighborhood, be sure to stop by and thank them for being an outstanding Salvation Army volunteer.

Thursday, Nov. 30: Danielle Waage

Our first Bell Ringer of the Day this season is Danielle Waage.

Rosemount Police Department

Danielle (pictured on the far left) is a Community Resource Officer with the Rosemount Police Department. She will be bell ringing today, along with 17 of her colleagues, at the Cub Foods on 150th St. in Rosemount from 4–6 p.m.

This is the sixth year that the Rosemount Police Department has signed up to bell ring. Danielle says it all started as a way to have police officers out in the community, making positive contacts with people, while supporting The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army thanks Danielle and the Rosemount Police Department for volunteering at the kettles, and for their commitment to protecting our community.

Friday, Dec. 1: Jennifer McCook 

Jennifer McCookOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Jennifer McCook with REMAX Results. She will be ringing from 3-4 p.m. at the Lunds & Byerlys in Plymouth. Jennifer is one of hundreds of real estate professionals who are ringing bells for The Salvation Army today as part of Minnesota REALTOR® Ring Day.

Jennifer has been a bell ringer for five years now. Her husband joined her several years ago, and this is the second year her daughter will be ringing with her. Jennifer says ringing is a wonderful family experience. She loves that it’s a great way to raise money for a good cause, that it helps people in need, and that it puts a smile on the faces of strangers.

Jennifer’s advice for first-time bell ringers: Have fun, engage with people, and smile. She says don’t be afraid to play some Christmas music, too – it will keep you in the holiday spirit!

Thank you to Jennifer and her fellow real estate professionals for bell ringing today!

Monday, Dec. 4: Mike St. Clair

Mike St. ClairOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Mike St. Clair. He will be ringing at Coborn’s in Ramsey from 4–8 p.m. with his wife Sarah and their family. This is his first official year as a Salvation Army bell ringer, and he has signed up for an amazing 40 hours of volunteering at a kettle!

Mike says his father Roger inspired him to be a bell ringer. Roger spent many years bell ringing after he retired from the U.S. Army. Mike and his family saw quite a few unattended kettles last year, so they decided to pick up some bells, put on some aprons, and help out.

Mike tells us the best part of being a bell ringer is the tremendous feeling of love and happiness he gets knowing he is helping others. He loves to play Christmas music and greet people with a smile and a thank you for donating.

Today we get to say a big thank you to Mike and his family for supporting The Salvation Army!

Tuesday, Dec. 5: Pam Heaton

Pam HeatonOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Pam Heaton (pictured on the far right). She will be ringing at Brinks Market in Chisago City from 4–6 p.m. with The Pleasant Valley Cloggers. Pam is the instructor of this dance group and has organized a day of bell ringing for four years in a row now. She tells us she loves doing it because it’s a great opportunity to give back to those in need – and she believes it’s really important to encourage others to do the same.

As the group bell rings, they also do some clogging, which makes it fun both for them and the people donating to the kettle. Pam says the best thing about being a bell ringer is bringing smiles to people’s faces, all while raising money for a great cause.

Thank you, Pam and the Pleasant Valley Cloggers!

Wednesday, Dec. 6: Kyle Monroe

Kyle Monroe Bell Ringer of the DayOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Pastor Kyle Monroe with 3-D Youth Ministries, a youth program at Cross of Glory Church in Hopkins. He and nearly a dozen kids from the program will be bell ringing tonight from 6–8 p.m. at six different kettles at Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka.

Kyle says this is the group’s third year ringing and that they love to do it because it’s fun to partner with The Salvation Army to serve our community. He tell us he loves to see the joy on people’s faces when they smile, connect and donate to the kettle.

His best tips for bell ringers? Smile, have fun, dance, and make it a joyful event for everyone.

Thanks for ringing, Pastor Kyle!

Thursday, Dec. 7: Gene Mammenga

Gene Mammenga, Bell Ringer of the DayOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Gene Mammenga. He will be ringing from 2–4 p.m. at the Macy’s in Maplewood.

Not only will Gene be ringing today, but nearly every day for the entire bell ringing season. He and his wife have signed up to bell ring for an amazing 38 hours this year!

As impressive as that is, it’s even more so when you consider that Gene is 86 years old. He tells us that being a Salvation Army bell ringer is one of the highlights of his year, because he loves giving back to the community.

Thanks for ringing, Gene!

Friday, Dec. 8: Scott Stevens

Scott Stevens, Bell Ringer of the DayOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Scott Stevens. He will be ringing at Cub in Woodbury from 12–2 p.m. He is one of several volunteer bell ringers from Woodbury Lutheran Church who have been supporting The Salvation Army for many years. In fact, their members are bell ringing for a combined 118 hours this season!

Scott says he loves to bell ring because it’s an easy way to support the community. He likes to play music, engage with people, and even give the kids who donate to the kettle a chance to ring the bell, too. Every year, Scott says he is touched by seeing people who appear to be on hard times themselves still giving what they can. He tells us he always feels blessed after he volunteers as a bell ringer.

Thank you to Scott and all the bell ringers from Woodbury Lutheran Church!

Monday, Dec. 11: Karla Moseley

Today’s Bell Ringer of the Day is Karla Moseley. She will be ringing at Festival Foods in Hugo from 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Karla is a first-time bell ringer. She came to know The Salvation Army through a group of home-schooling parents who needed a place to meet a few times a month. She says The Salvation Army in Maplewood opened its doors and welcomed the group in when nobody else would. Karla says she has learned that is the way of The Salvation Army – to help people in need and to act as a model for loving and supporting others.

Karla is excited to begin volunteering. She wants to use bell ringing to inspire her four children and make it a family tradition. She can’t wait to sing Christmas carols at the kettle and share the love The Salvation Army has shown to her.

Thanks for ringing, Karla!

Tuesday, Dec. 12: Lorenzo Castanon

Lorenzo Castanon, Bell Ringer of the DayOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Lorenzo Castanon. He is ringing for an amazing 40 hours this season at the Walmart in Andover. He says he grew up bell ringing with his family, took a break from it, then started up again on his own in 2015. He tells us he’s on a gap year between college and medical school, so he wanted to volunteer as much as possible during that time.

Lorenzo says he loves connecting with and talking to people who make donations to the kettle. He reminds everyone that every donation, big or small, adds up and makes a difference.

We couldn’t agree more. Donations to red kettles are down by about 10 percent compared to this time last year, so we encourage everyone to thank a bell ringer and please consider dropping some money into their kettle.

Thanks for ringing, Lorenzo!

Wednesday, Dec. 13: Minnesota Vikings staff

Viktor the VikingToday’s Bell Ringer of the Day is unique – it isn’t a single person, but rather the Minnesota Vikings staff. This morning, six members of the staff and two Vikings cheerleaders will be taking over several kettles at Mall of America from 10 a.m.–noon. You can meet them on the second and third floors, outside of Sears, as well as the East Broadway entrance.

The Vikings organization encourages its employees to take paid volunteer time. The staff thought bell ringing for The Salvation Army would be a great way to support the community and connect with fans to encourage them to do the same.

Thanks for ringing, Minnesota Vikings staff!

Thursday, Dec. 14: Jane Vandegrift

Jane Vandegrift, Bell Ringer of the DayToday’s Bell Ringer of the Day is Jane Vandegrift. She will be ringing with her neighborhood Bible study group at the Cub on Heritage Drive in Lakeville from 6–8 p.m.

Jane says this group of women wanted to bell ring to help their community and to put into action what they were learning in the Bible. In addition to signing up as a group to bell ring for The Salvation Army, they’re also collecting food and clothing for homeless people in Lakeville.

Jane was hesitant to receive any recognition for their good work, but she and her Bible study group hope they’ll inspire others to also give back to the community. (We hope the same, too!)

Another fun note: Jane and her Bible study group are planning to donate their prizes from KOOL to charity.

Thanks for ringing, Jane!

Friday, Dec. 15: Jenna Rodenz and Patrick Heffernan

Jenna Rodenz, Bell Ringer of the DayOur first Bell Ringer of the Day today is Jenna Rodenz. She will be ringing with her group, the Rocking and Ringing Moms, at the Lunds & Bylerlys in Chanhassen from 6–8 p.m.

This group of stay-at-home moms decided several years ago to bell ring in order to raise money for The Salvation Army and to teach their kids about giving back. Jenna says some of their husbands join them now, too. They make it a fun family event by singing Christmas carols and spreading holiday cheer. Jenna even wears a Santa suit.

Jenna loves seeing how generous and kind people are. One year, a teenager they’d never met stopped and gave their group a box of homemade cupcakes! She says being a Salvation Army bell ringer is a great reminder of what this season is all about – loving others and helping people in need.

Our second Bell Ringer of the Day is Patrick Heffernan. He will be ringing with his wife Dee Dee from 10 a.m.–noon at the Cub on White Bear Ave. in Maplewood. Patrick and his wife are proud to be representing the Minneapolis Can Do Canines Lions Club, which trains and places service dogs – free of charge – with people who have disabilities.

Patrick says he and Dee Dee enjoy meeting everyone who passes by their kettle and that they’re always surprised by people’s generosity. He particularly loves seeing children come up and put money in the kettle.

Patrick is a former firefighter, reserve police volunteer, and 911 dispatcher who says he has seen many occasions where The Salvation Army has responded to provide food, beverages and support to first responders. He says that is just one of the many reasons he loves supporting The Salvation Army.

Monday, Dec. 18: Ontario Davis

Our Bell Ringer of the Day today is Ontario Davis. He has given over 13 hours of volunteer time as a Salvation Army bell ringer this year outside Macy’s in Roseville. Ontario tells us that his father inspired him to ring. Growing up, his father would bell ring every Christmas season and come home filled with stories about all the people who donated to help others.

This year, Ontario decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and do the same thing. He says bell ringing has been a wonderful experience and that he is looking forward to volunteering again next year.

With just one week of bell ringing left this season, The Salvation Army is encouraging people to sign up for a shift and to please remember to drop a donation into those kettles!

Tuesday, Dec. 19: Nancy Weidenfeller

Nancy Weidenfeller, Bell Ringer of the DayOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Nancy Weidenfeller. She will be ringing outside Macy’s at Southdale (off France Ave., Door 1, upper level) from 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and again from 6:30–8 p.m. Even better, she has recruited friends and family members to take over her kettle location all day today.

Nancy recently joined The Salvation Army’s advisory board as a tribute to her father, Ted. He was a U.S. Army veteran and a lifelong supporter of The Salvation Army. Ted passed away seven years ago and she says she is thrilled to carry on his legacy.

Thanks for ringing, Nancy!

Wednesday, Dec. 20: Wayne Lake

Wayne Lake, Bell Ringer of the DayOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Wayne Lake. He will be ringing in the IDS Crystal Court from 3–5 p.m. with his wife Lora. They have been bell ringing together since 2010! He says they love to ring in the skyways or at Mall of America, where it’s warm and where there is a lot of traffic by their kettle.

Wayne says he and Lora enjoy getting into the Christmas spirit by helping others. After their first year of bell ringing, they bought Christmas hats and now give away candy canes to help attract more attention to their kettle. They also thank every donor and wish them a Merry Christmas.

Today we say a big thank you to Wayne and Lora and all of our Salvation Army bell ringers!

Thursday, Dec. 21: Sam Black

Sam Black, Bell Ringer of the DayOur Bell Ringer of the Day today is Sam Black. He will be ringing at the Lunds & Byerlys by Ridgedale from 4–7 p.m. Sam has been bell ringing with his wife Christina and their kids since 2013. He says it has become one of their Christmas traditions, which also include doing funs things like putting candy canes on parked cars at the mall.

Sam tell us one of his favorite things about bell ringing is channeling his inner Perry Como and singing Christmas carols. He admits that his singing embarrasses his kids, but it puts a smile of the faces of people who donate to the kettle.

Sam says he and Christina grew up in Grand Forks, and after the flood in 1997 they were impressed with all The Salvation Army volunteers who brought food, drinks, strong backs, and hope to people who really needed it. He says bell ringing is a great way for his family to give back and teach their kids about helping others.

Thanks for ringing, Sam!

Friday, Dec. 22: Michael Gorr

Michael Gorr, Bell Ringer of the DayWe have saved a very special Bell Ringer of the Day for last – his name is Michael Gorr. Michael has been bell ringing every single day of the kettle season, for 10 hours a day, six days a week, at Mall of America (East Broadway entrance, third floor). He is ringing every hour that is available, which adds up to 284 hours this year!

If that is not amazing enough, Michael has cerebral palsy, is in wheelchair, and breathes with the help of a tracheostomy tube. Not only does he give so tirelessly of his time, he tells us that he is grateful to The Salvation Army for allowing him to be a bell ringer. Michael is truly an inspiration to us and we thank him and all of our bell ringers!

You can see Michael’s full story on KARE-11’s Land of 10,000 Stories during their 10 p.m. newscast on Christmas Day.

Thanks for ringing, Michael!