MURRIETA, Calif. – He is The Lord of the Rings when it comes to Christmas bells.
Filipino-American Salvation Army Major Marcelino Butch Soriano rang his bell non-stop for 150 hours. His six day marathon ended in triumph on Sunday morning.
“I love bell ringing and I love the reason why we bell ring and the cause behind it is to help raise money, to help families in need, to help children in need,” said Soriano. “It’s to remember the Salvation Army’s 150 year existence in 2015. So far, every year the Salvation Army has been around I’ll ring an hour.
We caught up to him as he broke the 105th hour record he set last year with four other volunteers.
As each chime drew him closer to the records he was in the zone tuning out the ringing noise. His eyes were squinting but were firmly set on raising $10,000 for the Salvation Army by filling the red kettle and getting a few corporate donors.
“I feel great now,” said Soriano. “Yesterday I was feeling very fatigue and my feet were throbbing but I overcame that barrier and I’m looking forward, and looking forward to the 150th hour.”
He also had to deal with the elements as one of the strongest storms in years swept through Southern California.
“It’s been wet but I’m thankful this particular Walmart has an overhang that keeps me dry but it would’ve been nice to be out on a bright sunny day because the donations don’t come as much during a rainy day because people just want to get to their car,” said Soriano.
Bell ringers are allowed to take five minute breaks for every hour they ring but can also accumulate them towards a longer break. Soriano rarely takes those breaks believing that every swing of his arm is more funds for the Salvation Army programs.
Butch may be a Salvation Army employee in the finance department, but every second and every ring is completely voluntary doing it in the spirit of giving.
You can contact Steve Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @stevieangeles for more information.