Anniston Corps working for God’s Glory, Doing The Most Good

Being a parent of five children, I often hear the statement, “that’s not fair.” Usually, those three words come from a child who feels his or her parents purposely jobbed them out of getting the most awesome piece of candy ever created or the toy of all toys made by Santa himself.  They’re really dramatic about it too.

In another example, a friend’s parents bought them a scooter and it just wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t get a scooter also or so they’d say. Our reaction is the same…yes, Braden, Will, Olivia, Thomas, Lillian (I’m sure the order here has the youngest two yelling, “How come I can’t be first? That’s not fair!”) life is not fair and you don’t always get what you want.

I can imagine our heavenly father’s response to us would be the same. After all, God promises to take care of us, not necessarily that all will be fair throughout our lives.

These examples entered my mind as I left the Anniston Corps of The Salvation Army.  I visited with Captains Bert and Christy Lind for a couple days to figure out how we could garner more attention for the work they and a handful of dedicated employees and volunteers are doing.

You see, if there was ever a reason to cry “not fair”, it’s in Anniston right now. The Corps is housed in an old Coca Cola bottling plant, and when I say old, I mean 1926 old. The problems at the moment include a roof repair that will cost thousands and some old pipes that don’t like the cold weather.

This isn’t to say the facilities are inadequate. Walking around the grounds you can see just how much space the Anniston Corps has to work with…and work is not something the Linds or their workers shy away from.

Walking into the building for the first time, I was greeted by an employee helping a family wheel out groceries that will help them through the weeks ahead. The colder temperatures called for a warming station to be opened so the area homeless could get out of the dangerous weather. A volunteer mans the warming station to help those who come inside. (I counted at least fifteen who’d come in out of the cold when I was there). On that same day, volunteers gathered to go pass out food bags to the needy in town, and that doesn’t even speak of the busy Family Store on campus.

I’m definitely not writing this to make you feel sorry for these faithful officers, soldiers and employees, but rather the opposite. You see, these folks will spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter what their building looks like and no matter what it becomes in the future. In fact, the Captains aren’t ones to talk about their accomplishments.

I’m not sure about this because I never ask Captain Lind, but if I had to guess, my guess is he subscribes to the motto: “Let go, and let God.” So, the Linds will keep working, they’ll keep serving, and they will keep sharing the Word of God. One thing you won’t get from them though is a lot of complaining. They know who’s in control.

To me, that’s what makes The Salvation Army a great place to work and that’s why you should help out with your time, donations, and prayers. To make a donation or volunteer, contact The Salvation Army of Anniston at 256-236-5643

DHQ employees lend a hand at the Monroe, LA Corps

Everybody could use a little extra help at one time or another.  This is true of individuals, communities, and in this case, the Monroe, Louisiana Corps of The Salvation Army. In the wake of an unexpected change in leadership and staffing, the Monroe Corps found themselves overwhelmed with an abundance of chores and a lack of manpower. The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters for the Alabama– Louisiana– Mississippi Division, located in Jackson, MS, gave permission for its employees to travel to Monroe for a day to help out. On Wednesday, February 11, those who chose to go did the round–trip in one day, spending the 5 hours they had in Monroe sorting and organizing all of the canned goods at the location.

Cindy Chesney, who was on just her 8th day as H.R./Office Manager at the Monroe Corps, had already made vast improvements to the Corps before the DHQ team arrived, but there was still much to do. According to Ms. Chesney, “The help getting organized is greatly appreciated and shows DHQ does care and is willing to help where needed. True teamwork! With the new transition, everything around the Monroe Corps is now organized and ready for the new officers so they don’t have to be concerned with cleaning and organizing. They can focus on the building needs, the community and the church.”

Below are the thoughts of the participants on what this opportunity to serve meant to each of them.

Gina Oubre, Divisional Human Resources Director: “It was a good day— to be able to go in and work hands-on to help a local community rather than sitting in an office. It makes the people that we serve more real and gives us the opportunity to assist the local communities from a hands-on standpoint.”

Lacey Sanders, Human Resources Generalist: “I absolutely love my job and working for The Salvation Army, but how I got involved with this organization was by working hands on at the Corps and with the Community.  That’s what began my love for this place.  My day to day job with The Salvation Army is working behind a desk and reviewing paperwork and processes so getting the chance to go to Monroe and really physically work hard to help improve a location was so rewarding. Exhausting! But rewarding. ”

April Thames, Benefits Coordinator: “I’m just happy to help and see what a Corps looks like in another location. It feels good to help them. Hopefully we can do this (again) and not just as a one-time thing. It’s nice helping a location that needs assistance cleaning up or sorting stuff. I enjoyed doing it. Maybe next time we can go and help another location.”

Maggie Zakikhani, recently retired, former DHQ employee: “I was happy to be able to go and help. It made me feel like we accomplished something good, so that they’ll be able to feed the people without a lot of problems.”

Volunteers are always needed. If you would like to volunteer at the Monroe Corps, visit their website or stop by their location at 105 Hart Street. As Cindy says, “The employees here are all personable and welcome volunteers and the help and support they can give.”

 

National Advisory Board visits ALM Division for the first time

When 44 of the brightest minds in business come to your division with the goal of making The Salvation Army better, it’s an event to celebrate.

Not only was this the first time the National Advisory Board (NAB) held its quarterly meetings in the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division (ALM), it was the first time the NAB convened in a smaller metropolitan area, Jackson, Mississippi.  Two facts not lost on Divisional Commander, Major Ronnie Raymer.

“These meetings put us on a national stage. The members of the National Advisory Board have influence throughout this great nation that translates into much needed support of The Salvation Army of which this division is a key part,” said Major Raymer.

Officers from all four territories, National Headquarters, including Commissioners David and Barbara Jeffery, and board members were greeted at the airport by Divisional Officers and staff. Each guest received a gift bag filled with Mississippi based items including a divisional booklet highlighting nine different corps programs as well as Emergency/Disaster Services, Angel Tree and youth summer camp in the ALM Division.

“This week gives us an opportunity to express the unique needs of our citizens in this part of the United States. Without these meetings, it might not otherwise be afforded to us,” said Major Raymer.

Following arrivals, a full day of meetings and discussions faced board members. First, Captain Chapman welcomed everyone to Jackson, officially with a breakfast including 75 local CEOs and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.

This board meeting also marked the first for William Burke as Board Chairman. Chairman Burke from Columbus, Ohio is the Senior Vice President for Corporate Marketing for Nationwide Financial. He walked away impressed.

“Jackson is a very vibrant city, the state is growing. There’s lots of energy and innovation and lots of care for those people in the part of the country,” said Burke.

Board member and former First Lady, Laura Bush also made the trip to Jackson to take part in all the events surrounding the meetings.

Thursday evening proved to be the highlight of the week for officers and board members alike. The Jackson Corps hosted a reception and dinner inside its Corps Community Center featuring chefs and food from across Mississippi. The entertainment was provided by local young adults, teens and children who use the center every day. Plus, local troop, Ballet Magnificat danced to Joy to the World and Territorial Headquarters Commissioner Don Bell was called on stage to feed Frank the Camel.

Commissioner Bell says by bringing the NAB to Corps across the country, each local advisory board finds out what is going on nationally, plus the local members see what it really takes in Doing The Most Good.

“Through their efforts, we raise the image of the Army. So by bringing the NAB to Jackson, we think The Salvation Army’s efforts in Jackson will get a boost,” said Commissioner Bell.

Planning for the week began months ago and many hours of work went into making sure this would be a time to remember for all involved. The meetings were deemed a success.

“We have a lot to be proud of here in the South and it’s pretty cool to show this off,” said Major Raymer.

 

Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant, receives the “Others” Award

 

In William Booth’s time, there was no Twitter, no texting, not even the telephone was around yet.  So, reaching his troops around the world the fastest way possible was done by telegraph.  To avoid paying a hefty charge to use the telegraph, Booth would simple send one word messages. One such message included only one word and conveyed best what The Salvation Army was all about….”others.”

Today, The Salvation Army recognizes individuals and organizations who display extraordinary service to others with the “Others” Award.

The timing couldn’t have been better to present the latest “Others” Award to Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant. With the National Advisory Board in Jackson with most of the national leadership, Commissioner David Jeffery surprised Governor Bryant with the award at a leadership breakfast to kickoff the NAB’s meetings.

“Your life and the life of your wife are about serving others,” said Commissioner Jeffery.

Governor Bryant serves on the Jackson Corps’ advisory board, rings the bell at Christmas, and helps packs toys for Angel Tree recipients. As Governor, Bryant is working hand in hand with The Salvation Army and other faith based organizations to educate teens about waiting to have a baby until they are married. He says the program has led to a 15% reduction in teen birth rates in the state.

Governor Bryant says The Salvation Army’s promise, “Doing The Most Good” rings true in his life as he serves the state of Mississippi as governor.

“I’ve got to continue to earn this award, keep working for the Army and earn the award by doing the most good,” said Governor Bryant.

In the Governor’s office, on his desk, Bryant says he has two very important reminders for his daily life. One is the bible, but second, is The Salvation Army’s promise to everyone who might need us, four simple words….Doing The Most Good.

“It reminds me what we are here for, praising god in every way we can, and helping others,” said Governor Bryant.

The Jackson Corps’ Commanding Officer, Captain Ken Chapman, summed the presentation of the “Others” Award best.

“No other person I know deserves that award more,” said Captain Chapman.