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Ringing the bell for coronavirus heroes

A church in Susquehanna County is doing its part to bring comfort and peace to those on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, all with a simple sound.

MESHOPPEN, Pa. — It wasn't Sunday morning, but the church bell was ringing at the South Auburn United Methodist Church near Meshoppen. And it will ring every day at noon until the threat of the coronavirus is gone.

At 87 years old, Arden Tewksbury has been a member of the church since he was a boy. Now, he's making it his mission to honor all those who are putting their lives on the line during the COVID-19 pandemic, from health care workers and first responders, to sanitation workers and grocery store employees.

"It kind of hit me the other day; we're an area here that's very patriotic and very sympathetic to causes," Tewksbury said. "I just thought it'd be a way to symbolize our feelings toward what's going on across the United States and the world."

Tewksbury remembers ringing this same bell back in August of 1945.

"In 1945, my sister drug me up here when we had VJ day, and we rang and rang and rang that same bell to honor the boys and girls who gave us victory in World War II," he recalled. "The only difference between a war and this is in the war, you know who your opponent is, and you know where they're at. With this virus, we never see it, and we don't know where it's going to jump out at us next."

Although we haven't declared victory so to speak over the coronavirus yet, Tewksbury says it's times like these when he's proud to be an American.

"I just hope it takes off to symbolize to the people that are really suffering and we're not in that class yet here, but the people that are really suffering from this, that they will realize people all across the United States are supporting their efforts and their sympathy is with them," said Tewksbury.

It's a simple act and a simple sound, but one Tewksbury hopes can be heard around the world.