Jim Frye and fellow firefighters were the winners of a four-hour "Ring-Off" to see which of Hudson's three chiefs could raise the most money for the Salvation Army.

The firefighters, stationed at the entrance to the County Market grocery store last Friday afternoon and evening, brought in over $200 more than Chief Marty Jensen and the police department and Chief Eric Christensen and St. Croix EMS workers.

Together, the three chiefs and their departments raised more than $1,800, the Salvation Army reports.

Jensen and the police department were stationed at Mills Fleet Farm. Christensen and EMS workers rang bells in front of Papa Murphy's Pizza.

The police department took second place with a last-minute donation that put the police $12.55 ahead of St. Croix EMS.

The Salvation Army reports that Jensen and Christensen arrived promptly for the start of the competition at 3 p.m. Friday. Frye was said to have come later to rally his helpers. He stayed to end of the Ring-Off at 7 p.m.

A snowstorm started at about the same time as the competition, which, according to the Salvation Army, added to the festive atmosphere of the "Ring-Off."

But Chief Jensen, who was at Fleet Farm for the entire event, said the snowstorm also affected traffic. The parking lot of store was crowded at the start of the Ring-Off, he said, but as the afternoon wore on fewer people braved the weather to go shopping.

Jensen brought several officers and police dog Brisco along for moral support. A number of staff and family members of St. Croix EMS and the fire department also participated in the bell-ringing.

The money collected through the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign is used in emergency cases to help people pay rent and utility bills, and for transportation and medicine.

Duana Bremer, social services director for the Salvation Army of St. Croix, Polk and Burnett counties, says the demand for emergency assistance has doubled in the past year because of high unemployment.

Last year's Red Kettle Campaign for the three counties raised $90,000, Bremer said, but the funds were expended three-fourths of the way through the fiscal year.

This year's goal is $100,000.

Bremer said bell ringers are needed at all of the Salvation Army's Red Kettle locations.

To volunteer, call Grace Place homeless shelter in Somerset at (715) 247-2944 or Lynn Berg at (715) 222.6387.