Bell Ringer Brings In Kettles of Cash for Gulf Coast Residents in NeedBy Rhonda Miller | Published 19 Dec 2011 12:43am |
A young bell ringer on the Gulf Coast brought in kettles of donations for the Salvation Army’s holiday campaign. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports that he did it through a bell ringing competition.
Twenty-two-year old Alan Jermyn knows how to set a goal and go for it. The goal is to break the world record of 36 hours of continuous bell ringing and make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. He began in front of Walmart in D’Iberville at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Jermyn says the rules are no sitting, no sleeping, no food. Only water, sports drinks, juice and bell ringing.
"Constantly ringing," Jermyn says. "I have to ring it if I go to the bathroom, if I go get a drink, wherever I go."
Jermyn is aquatics director at the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Biloxi. But he’s ringing the bell as a volunteer.
"I’ve rang the bell before. I’ve helped out with Angel Tree. I was in Key Club in high school," Jermyn says. "I’ve done community service throughout my life."
Word got around quickly about the young bell ringer. Seventy-four- year-old Hewitt Barton stops by to offer encouragement.
"I think he’s a better man than me," says Barton. "I think he's got a lot going for him and I think he will amount to something."
Terry Miller and her mother heard about Jermyn’s bell ringing from a family member.
"And to see a young person striving for something like this, it’s really refreshing," Miller says.
All that admiration from passers-by adds up to $1,500 in four red kettles. Salvation Army spokeswoman Meghan Calhoun says it also increases public awareness about the dramatically increasing need on the Gulf Coast.
"Our Angel Tree program is a perfect example. Last year we had about 5,000 angels, children that needed Christmas presents taken care of. This year our need was up to 10,000," says Calhoun.
Jermyn did break the record by ringing his bell for 36 hours and 20 minutes. Then low blood sugar and hunger pangs forced him to stop. Of the 24 bell ringers competing nationwide, the new record was set at 60 hours by a man in Springfield, Illinois. Jermyn says he plans to compete again next year.
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