Army Veteran keeps ringing for a cause

Salvation Army bell ringer Michael Ervin is posted outside of shopping centers all around the Temple area this holiday season.
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It's that familiar sound around the holidays. Walking through malls or a shopping center, The Salvation Army bell ringers are back.

Michael Ervin is one of them.  He wants to give back to an organization that gave him food, clothing and shelter at a time when he needed it most.

Ervin joined the military a few decades ago. However, just months later, he was medically discharged for health reasons.  He said he felt like a failure.

"Things didn't work out as planned, but there's a reason for everything," Ervin said.

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Ervin fell on tough times which led to a life on the streets for about seven to eight years.  He said it was a very tough life, recounting being set on fire, hit with bottles and times when people threw items at him.

"I know what it's like to be out here, and I know what the others are going through," he said,

He explained why he's happy to ring and ask for donations to the Salvation Army throughout the holiday season.

"My life used to be miserable, but I enjoy it now," he said.

The Homeless Veterans program at the VA in Temple also helped him get back on his feet.  He has a family and grandkids now--and some bell tunes in his heart.

"People love me, they love that I'm a double ringer," Ervin said.

He wants to bring joy to all the shoppers throughout the holidays outside places like the Temple Mall, Hobby Lobby and Sam's Club.

"You bless them, they bless you back," he said.

Ervin may still struggle at times, but he faith keeps him grounded.

"God is my everything, he's my provider," he said.