Statement as issued Wednesday afternoon by the Salvation Army in Fort Wayne:
Volunteer bell ringer, Steve Batzka, has now been ringing his bell since Tuesday, December 11 at 1:00 pm (EST).
Steve is now only one of six contestants still ringing, as two bell ringers from California have dropped out of the competition. One volunteer stopped his effort at 6:32 am today and the other stopped ringing at 12:10 pm this afternoon.
Steve raised $369.00 in his first bucket which was counted at 7:00 am this morning.
The Salvation Army encourages everyone to go to the Village of Coventry Kroger store to cheer Steve on and keep him awake, especially throughout the night and early morning.
Major Harold Poff praised Steve’s effort, “The Salvation Army is very thankful to Steve for entering this contest and bringing attention to our Kettle Campaign and the need in our community.”
To date, The Salvation Army has raised only 41% of their Christmas fundraising goal.
For more on this story, see Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Thursday.