Published: Nov 29, 2010 8:24 PM EST
Updated: Nov 29, 2010 5:24 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla - It's hard to find a bell ringer more enthusiastic than Ernest Peterson.  "I'm truly grateful.  I'm truly grateful because I've been homeless in several places."

Ernest told WINK News his story outside the Publix store on Colonial and Summerlin in Fort Myers.  "Not many years ago I was strung out on drugs and alcohol..."  Until he found the Salvation Army. "They don't focus on just the substance abuse.  Their focus is the root.  They forced me to address my issues."

So now, Peterson is giving back what he can, ringing the Salvation Army bell, hoping to help raise money for an organization that changed his life for the better.