This year the bell did not toll for Lithuanian-American Darrell Tureskis after two years holding the world record for continuous Salvation Army bell-ringing. In December 2011 and 2012, Darrell took his stand and held it from a Sunday midnight to a Thursday midnight at Schnucks supermarket on Montvale Dr., where I happened upon him in action, complete with a countdown clock ticking away and his wife Angela by his side near the end.
In 2012, Darrell, owner of Springfield’s Nyilas Cleaning Service, Inc., set the high bar at 80 hours–20 hours longer than his 2011 record. You can read my original post and last year’s article in the State Journal-Register:
This year the record belongs to Andre Thompson of Tyler, Texas and two other men, who pushed a little past 100 hours early Sunday, Dec. 8 (today).
A third-generation Lithuanian-American, Darrell is the son of former U.S. Air Force mechanic and Ameritech lineman James Tureskis. Darrell’s paternal grandparents Felix and Ann Tureskis of Divernon were Lithuanian immigrants.
Growing up in Springfield near the Fleetwood Restaurant with two brothers and two sisters, Darrell attended St. Cabrini Grade School and Griffin High School, where he was on the school’s state championship golf team. Next, Darrell attended Lincoln Land Community College and Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he earned a business degree with a minor in accounting.
Darrell followed his college years with a stint selling cars at Green Toyota, then 15 years with the Ameritech Yellow Book, including management roles in Champaign, Collinsville, and Chicago. Darrell also worked as Director of Golf at the Rail Golf Course in Springfield and as a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch in Springfield before purchasing Nyilas cleaners in 2005.
Darrell said he sat out the Salvation Army’s 2013 “run for the record” because he wanted to see if anyone would break his 2012 record. His initial plan was to go for the 100-hour mark in 2014 if anyone beat 80 hours this year.
Even if he never rings another bell, Darrell is still a champion. In 2011 he estimates he raised $7,000–and another $6,200 in pledges in 2012–for The Mary Bryant Home, Camp Coco, Basket of Hope, St. Martin de Porres, the Animal Protective League, and other local charities.