Bell ringing record broken

2012-12-03T16:53:00Z 2012-12-03T20:19:29Z Bell ringing record brokenStan Maddux Times Correspondent
December 03, 2012 4:53 pm  • 

LAPORTE | Toward the end of a sleepless, record-breaking 60 hours, Billy Nickrand didn't know where he was or what he was doing.

He even suffered chest pains from his body's response to extreme fatigue, and the big toes on his feet were still numb two days later.

Nickrand, 28, is glad he spent two and a half days on his feet ringing a bell for the Salvation Army kettle drive in LaPorte, but he says he has no plans to do it a second time.

“I don't think there's enough money in the world to get me to do this again,” he said.

Nickrand started at noon Thursday at the Kroger store in LaPorte, but at 4 p.m. Saturday he broke down in tears on the brink of throwing in the towel.

A friend and even strangers rallied behind Nickrand, offering words of encouragement to help keep him going until he surpassed the 60-hour mark set last year. He topped that mark by five minutes before putting down his bell.

Nickrand said he was so out of it toward the end he doesn't remember breaking the record or being driven home and escorted to bed.

“I was there. I was ringing the bell but I just wasn't there,” he said.

He said he was in such a haze during the final hours that he remembers only waking up eight hours after breaking the record and stumbling into the shower to get ready for church services.

Nickrand is pastor at Door Village United Methodist Church outside LaPorte.

Nickrand said his doctor was on call during the entire time and came and stayed with him during the final three hours as a precaution.

Rest and plenty of fluids is now being prescribed to help Nickrand rebound.

“I'm expected to have a full recovery,” he said.

His goal was to raise $5,000 for the Salvation Army, but he collected at least $6,300, with donations still trickling in Monday.

The Rev. Dennis Meyer of Bethany Lutheran Church in LaPorte said the bell ringing marathon reveals the true spirit of the Christmas season.

“When you see positive things like that you really realize that people are trying to do something good for our community and for the people around us,” Meyer said.

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