Children held fingers to their ears. Others applauded, as an old school bell rang loud and true apparently as ever. And Jerry Opperman said, “Sounds just right!” Those three words were important to a large crowd Saturday afternoon in front of the Keowee Elementary School. The former school bell, restored by the Keowee-Ebenezer Fire Department, would have been lost to the trash heap had it now been for Opperman’s sense of pride and community. Opperman had been a long time community volunteer fire chief. But in 1984, as the superintendent for the contractor to demolish the old school and build a new one, Opperman instructed the work crews to save the bell. For years, it sat until the members of the current Keowee-Ebenezer Fire Department decided to restore it and move it to the fire station in Opperman’s honor. The occasion Saturday of the school’s centennial was used to surprise Opperman with the dedication of the bell. State Senator Thomas Alexander presented Opperman a Senate resolution denoting Opperman’s community service as a fire fighter, a hospital trustee, and the longest service ever as a county sewer commissioner.