Bell Ringer's Terminal Illness no Match for Dedication

By KBJR News 1

December 12, 2012 Updated Dec 13, 2012 at 10:56 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - It's that all too familiar Christmas sound. A ringing sound Dave Heyser knows all too well.

Heyser been a Salvation Army bell ringer for the last 12 years.

"I took that on as a retirement program I wanted to be in," he said. "Six times we were out and around and finally got up into the mall and there I stayed. It's warm up there."

Braving the elements, Heyser has always put others before himself. He credits his years in the U.S. Marine Corps and serving as a Presbyterian minister for that attitude.

He had all intentions to be out on the streets again this winter, but life had other plans. He was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer several months ago.

So it shouldn't come as surprise, now in hospice care, Heyser isn't giving up.

To help feed his need to help, for a second week in a row, the Salvation Army setup a red kettle in the lobby of Benedictine Health Center in Duluth.

"David is a person who needs to be helping others, he needs to be knowing he's making a difference in the world," said Rev. Sharon Johnson of her friend.

He's making a difference with determination even in the time he has left to ring the bell.

"Dave feels even at the end of life he wants to finish well and this is something that was important to him," said Gordon Mesedahl with the Salvation Army.

Heyser's wife and a friend have also signed on to ring the bell at various locations, a job Heyser had wanted to do before falling ill.

Kevin Jacobsen
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