10-4, good buddy: Badlands truck driver does good in the Twin Cities
Mark W. Dreyer is an over-the-road truck driver from North Dakota who raises thousands of dollars for The Salvation Army by bell ringing in the Twin Cities. Sign up to ring.
Mark, 67, lives in the Badlands of North Dakota in the historic town of Watford City, near the Montana border. Every Christmas season, he schedules his truck routes to go through the Twin Cities so that he can ring bells for The Salvation Army.
“I love helping,” he said. “It gets in your blood when you see the effect you’re having on people.”
Mark is originally from the Twin Cities area and moved to North Dakota in 2011 to work in the oil fields. He first started bell ringing about 12 years ago while he was living in Spring Park, Minn., and working as a paid on-call firefighter for the nearby Long Lake Fire Department.
He became passionate about ringing bells about 10 years ago after taking a tour of The Salvation Army Harbor Light Shelter in Minneapolis. The facility provides food, emergency shelter, and care for hundreds of people every day.
“My heart melted during the tour,” Mark said. “That place is the real deal. My interest in bell ringing grew from there.”
Since then, he has volunteered at the kettles for hundreds of hours and has single-handedly recruited dozens of other bell ringers to join him, many of them firefighters. He typically rings four to eight times per Christmas season.
“One thing I always do is schedule a shift for the last day of bell ringing, on Christmas Eve,” Mark said. “People really open up their pocketbooks.”
So far this year, he has rung bells at three Minnesota Vikings games and at a Vikings holiday event at TCO Performance Center (watch a video the Vikings made to honor Mark and others at the Long Lake Fire Department). He is scheduled to ring four more times, including Christmas Eve at the Lunds & Byerlys in Navarre, near Lake Minnetonka.
Mark is excited to ring again this Christmas season because “you see the good (The Salvation Army) is doing and you meet wonderful people,” he said. “They’re giving out clothing and food, and getting people off the streets. It’s inspiring.”
Mark is heavily involved with raising money for other charities as well, including the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, and a long list of others.
Sign up to ring bells
Registration is open for the 2022 bell ringing season. Sign up to ring.
The Salvation Army needs more bell ringers than ever this holiday season due to rising inflation. Your time volunteering at a red kettle will help local families who cannot afford the rising costs of food, gas and housing. (Read why Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (pictured) supports The Salvation Army.)
Bell ringing is a fun and easy way to make a big difference, with hundreds of kettle locations throughout the Twin Cities, Greater Minnesota and North Dakota. Recruit your friends, family and coworkers to join you and raise even more money for families in need.
This holiday season, The Salvation Army is calling on all of our supporters to Love Beyond. #LoveBeyond is a national Salvation Army campaign that encourages people to put love above all else, in order to show families in need that love exists beyond their most difficult situations – be it hunger, overdue bills, eviction, addiction, and other hardships. Join us by giving a donation, signing up to volunteer, or ringing bells at a Red Kettle.