Like Balboa vs. Drago, Except This Local Battle To Benefit Freeport

Freeport, Illinois — He’s not human. Some say he is a piece of iron. Standing at well over 6′ tall and weighing in at over 250 lbs, facing him is like staring into the eyes of a Sherman tank, as he glares at you with that unmistakable Russian grin. “Going in one more round when you don’t think you can – that’s what makes all the difference in your life”, is his motto. Words that Jim Brickson of Freeport happens to know a little something about too.

See, Brickson is a prestigious world record holder.

That’s news challenger Rodney Voss of Freeport apparently has not been privy to, as Voss recently challenged Brickson to a battle. A friendly battle of sorts, and one that could benefit many people within the Freeport community.

Jim Brickson is the Captain of the local Salvation Army in Freeport. In 2014 he and two others broke the world record for continuous bell ringing where at a Mall in Minnesota, Brickson rang the Salvation Army bell 5 straight days for a total of 105 hours. To this day, his record has not been beaten.

This year, Voss wants to challenge Brickson.

But not in a challenge to break the world record, a challenge that Voss can outlast and out collect Brickson over the next 2 consecutive Saturdays at the Freeport Walmart.

“It’s really about all the good things the Salvation Army does in our community, and a little friendly competition never hurt anyone” Voss told us.

The 2017 Christmas campaign is well underway with a goal of $147K that is hoped to be collected over a 3-month period, Captain Brickson says. He says the kettle portion of the drive represents $70K and is seeing some decline over last year for donations.

“All funds collected in Stephenson County will stay in Stephenson County for Salvation Army programming.”

Brickson said he’s grateful for the constant support of this community helping the Salvation Army. He says it’s exciting to be part of implementing an all-volunteer force.

The hardest thing in most people’s lives is change, one person told us. Those in need often don’t have a choice in the changes that happen in their life. Together though, we can help ease that change for people right here in our community.

While analysts tell us Brickson is favored to win, we all know to never count out the little guy. As Balboa himself one said, “if I can change and you can change, everybody can change”.

The Salvation Army is looking for more volunteers to greet the community at each of their Red Kettle locations. To volunteer you may go to or call Ashley at 815-238-5243


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