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EVERYDAY PEOPLE: Come on ring those bells

‘Tis the season for the Christmas bells to start their ringing. And where there are Christmas bells, it’s a pretty safe bet that there is also a Salvation Army red kettle.

This holiday season, Brainerd resident, Pat Kronschnable is volunteering her time as a bell ringer. “I love it,” Kronschnable said Thursday from her post outside the exit of Cub Foods in Baxter. “I love the people.”

With temperatures dipping below freezing, Kronschnable, 66, is bundled up in her winter coat and hat, perched on a walker she borrowed from her sister. But she doesn’t mind. “It’s not too bad,” she said.

While there is no mistaking the sound of the kettle bells, Kronschnable has altered her bell to make sure it’s not too loud. That’s right — she has a custom bell. “Wally made it,” she said. “It doesn’t make as much noise.”

Kronschnable, who is retired, said she just wanted to do something good this holiday season. “I just thought I’d help them out,” she said. Kronschnable and her husband Wally are both volunteering with the Salvation Army this year.

Wally actually drops off and picks up kettles at stations around the area.

Kronschnable said she has volunteered her time at several red kettle locations throughout the Brainerd area. She said this week she will ring the bell at Hallmark. “It will be nice to be inside,” she joked.

Kronschnable said one of her favorite parts of manning the kettle is seeing children come up with a handful of change to drop off. “They put the coins in one at a time,” she said. “It’s so cute.”

In addition to serving with the Salvation Army, Kronschnable said she loves to use her talent for knitting to create hats and gloves for area kids in need. This year, she traded install services with Sound Connection in Brainerd for donated hats and gloves. “I don’t think they realized how many were in the bag,” she said.

For more information on how to volunteer as a red kettle bell ringer contact the Salvation Army in Brainerd at 829-1120.

SARAN NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at or 855-5879.