Mansfield Mayor David Cook set a new record and earned another year of bragging rights in the Salvation Army’s Mayoral Bell Ringing Challenge.
“We just challenged our community to come out and keep the title in Mansfield, and boy, did our citizens and supporters come together,” Cook said.
Cook raised $56,855.97 Saturday, topping the $43,321.17 he rounded up last year and besting even the $50,000 goal he’d set for this year. The challenge, which pits the mayors of five cities against each other to raise the most funds in a single day, also set a new record, gathering $80,141.25, topping last year’s $65,666.35.
“That’s amazing,” said Lt. Timothy Israel of the Arlington/Mansfield Salvation Army post. “I thought $75,000 would be a great day. $80,000, that’s amazing, just to see these numbers and to know what we’ll be able to do for our community.”
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Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams raised $12, 693.98. Dalworthington Gardens Mayor Kimberly Fitzpatrick earned the per capita award in the Mayoral Challenge, raising $6,073.71, over $4,000 more than Dalworthington Gardens had ever raised in the campaign, Israel said. Pantego Mayor Melody Paradise rounded up $4,135.46, and Kennedale Mayor Brian Johnson gathered $382.13.
The only year Mansfield has not taken the prize since the competition began in 2009 was when Arlington won in 2011.
“Mansfield has won seven of eight, and five in a row,” Israel said. “Mansfield will receive a Golden Kettle to honor five years of winning. Mansfield will get the bell trophy to keep for a year and the Golden Kettle to keep forever.
“When you put everyone else together, I think Mansfield was more than twice as much,” he said. “Mayor Cook has stepped up to another level. People in Mansfield take a lot of pride in this.”
Cook was surprised and honored that the city will get to keep a trophy.
“I’m very excited for Mansfield,” said Cook, who is chairman of the Arlington/Mansfield Salvation Army’s advisory council. “It’s a great cause.”
The mayors had a dozen sites covered across the area, including five spots that the Salvation Army normally does not have access to, Israel said. Mansfield had five locations, which includes both doors at Walmart on Walnut Creek Drive.
While the mayors and their forces were ringing bells, the Salvation Army was handing out gifts to 3,751 children, plus food boxes for each of the 1,100 families.
“It’s a huge day for us, in fund raising and service,” Israel said. “We could not have asked for better weather. Once we set the date, the weather becomes a concern.”