Marcelino “Butch” Soriano was a man with a mission. He joined 24 other Salvation Army members around the US who attempted to break the 36-hour bell ringing world record.
The 44-year-old Soriano, the only Filipino in the competition, stood with his bell outside Macy’s by Union Square last Thursday morning.
“I love bell ringing. I love kettles. I believe in what the kettles do in raising money for people in need,” said Soriano.
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign has raised a record $142 million nationwide last year. Soriano’s goal is to get even more people to know about Salvation Army and what it does to help the community.
To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Red Kettle Campaign, Salvation Army held a nationwide contest for longest bell ringing. No eating, no sitting is allowed. Contestants could only take a 10-minute break every four hours.
Soriano’s strategy was to stay warm and to just use his fingertips when ringing the bell, rather than the whole arm, to conserve energy.
It helps that he had a lot of people cheering for him, especially fellow Filipinos.
Rose Sharpan said: “Win or lose, it’s our pride that he’s Filipino.”
Day and night, Soriano stood his ground. By Friday night, at 10 p.m., he had officially beat the 36-hour world record.
On Saturday morning, at 9 AM, he reached the 48-hour mark.
"My legs are sore. My feet are sore that's why I have someone trying to massage my leg and my feet so that I can still stand," he said.
In the end, Soriano clocked in at 51 hours, 10 minutes and 25 seconds. However, a bell ringer from Illinois won the competition by clocking in at more than 60 hours.
Though he did not win, Soriano said, “I feel a sense of accomplishment. I know that I’ve done the best that I could.”