If Andre Thompson has his way, he’ll keep ringing a bell through tonight — and all the way to 8 p.m. Friday evening.
Thompson has volunteered to participate in the 2013 Salvation Army World Record Bell Ringing Contest.
During the contest, corps from all around the world will have a volunteer representative ringing a bell for as long as they can stand. Last year, the record was set at 80 hours of continuous ringing.
This is the first year the Tyler corps has participated, Maj. Ben Lawrence said.
“We’re excited we can participate and show the community how important it is to raise as many funds as we can,” he said. “We hope people will come out at all hours to support Andre.”
At least two volunteers are needed at all times to watch Thompson, and volunteers are still needed to sign up. Thompson, 45, can take a 5-minute break every hour, but other than that, he must stand and ring a bell.
The Tyler corps is the only branch in the Southern region to participate. Local representatives knew of at least one other corps in Minnesota that was participating.
Nearby the place where Thompson stands, at the entrance to the Walgreen’s on South Broadway Avenue and Rieck Road, is a table with snacks and drinks.
“He tried to help us set up, but we said, ‘No, save your energy,” said Chantel Millin, community and corporate relations coordinator for the Tyler corps.
As this year’s contest continues the community will be encouraged to make donations at the kettle as well as online at www.onlineredkettle.org/AndreThompson . Those interested in volunteering may contact Millin at 903-592-4361.
Organizers are hoping the weather is better than forecasted; Thursday and Friday are expected to be rainy with temperatures in the 30s.
Still, Thompson was optimistic.
“I’m feeling good,” he said as he started his first few minutes of ringing. “I’m ready.”