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Name: Kyle Karsten

Age: 48

Occupation: Director of development and community relations for the Salvation Army

City of residency: Decatur, by way of Eureka, Missouri

Kyle, you grew up in the home of Six Flags St. Louis. Do you have a favorite ride at the park?

I'll go old school and classic and say the Screamin' Eagle. When I was growing up, it was the tallest, fastest and steepest roller-coaster around. Those are the kind of roller-coasters I still enjoy today, the crazy person that I am. I was also a fan of the Buccaneer, which was a pirate ship that just rocked back and forth. I've got lots of good memories from going there. 

Have you ever rang the bell at one of the Salvation Army's kettle stands?

Yes. This is my second Christmas with the Salvation Army, and my wife and I, along with some of the Salvation Army's staff, have volunteered before. I really enjoyed that, and not as a person being paid, but as a volunteer. It's a nice thing to be a part of, just being out there and wishing people Merry Christmas. 

What's your technique when it comes to ringing the bell?

My style is holding it at the top of the handle, with the silver bell hanging straight down, and ringing it every few seconds. Then I'll wait, ring with some pauses in between, and just let my wrists go side-to-side. 

What do you enjoy the most about community outreach?

I love seeing people. You can't go to a location to ring a bell without seeing people that you know, whether it's family or just someone you interacted with in a social setting. I love seeing the camaraderie between people. 

Do you and your family have any special traditions around Christmas time?

It's just family. It's spending time with immediate family, or spending time with extended family. No matter how it looked over the years, or how old my children were, it was always family and celebrating the baby Jesus, who is the reason for the season. 

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jcook@herald-review.com | (217) 421-7980

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