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Salvation Army bell-ringers reach their goal: $50,000-plus

Jeremy Lilyquist, left, and Derek Gilbert, right, were joined by Congressman Sean Duffy and Salvation Army Director Duana Bremer, middle, at the start of their 30-hour bell-ringing marathon. Lilyquist and Gilbert began ringing bells in front of Hudson County Market grocery store at 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, and didn't quit until Friday evening, Dec. 20. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Margaret A. Ontl)

The marathon bell-ringing session for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign kicked off in Hudson on Thursday, Dec. 19, in front of County Market grocery at 1 p.m.

Jeremy Lilyquist and Derek Gilbert ran bells for the next 30 hours, raising $51,198 in money and pledges for the Salvation Army. They reached the $50,000 goal at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, with an hour to spare.

This is the third year the team has undertaken the bell-ringing marathon. Each year their goal has been raised.

The two volunteer as bell-ringers because they know first-hand how the funds are used to “do the most good” in St. Croix County. Both have gotten further involved in the organization throughout the years and now serve on the St. Croix County Salvation Army Advisory Board. Lilyquist is the chair of the board.

The pair volunteer their time to the board and to this marathon ring event because they know and see that the dollars raised help people right in their own community.

The Salvation Army in St. Croix County helps individuals and families in need with rent payments, utility and medical bills, and transportation expenses. It also provides milk coupons to the food pantries in the county that are redeemable at local businesses.

The Salvation Army in St. Croix County operates a homeless shelter in Somerset called Grace Place.