Federal emergency declaration issued for 5 LA parishes, state EOC begins 24-hour operations

JACKSON, MS (August 28, 2017) – As forecasts for Tropical Storm Harvey predict the future path the storm may take, The Salvation Army stands ready in Louisiana and neighboring states. The Louisiana Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is now monitoring Harvey 24 hours a day. The Salvation Army Division Liaison Coordinator, Bill Feist, will deploy to the EOC tomorrow to coordinate with state and non-governmental organizations to identify opportunities for The Salvation Army to provide disaster relief to affected communities.

“Our liason works shoulder to shoulder with state, county and local agencies to coordinate mass care needs such as food and hydration.” said Terry Lightheart, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Emergency/Disaster Services Director. “Coordination and communication is so important because no single agency can help everyone who is or may be in need.”

The federal emergency declaration is for Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, and Vermilion parishes in southern Louisiana. Although torrential rain has already fallen, state officials are expecting upwards of ten to fifteen inches more in the coming days.

“Much like Texas, the National Weather Service is reporting the main threat for the southwest portion of Louisiana as flooding.” said Lightheart. “We also have been monitoring threats from isolated tornadoes.”

The Salvation Army is prepared to respond when needed. Currently, 29 canteens or mobile feeding trucks are on standby with personnel.

“Whether disaster relief needs are in Louisiana or Texas, we are ready. The mobile feeding units are stocked and personnel are prepared to deploy.” said Lightheart.

How People Can Help

The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

Online: helpsalvationarmy.org

Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Mail Checks to:

The Salvation Army PO Box 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301

Please designate “Hurricane Harvey” on all checks.

Text to Give: STORM to 51555

The Salvation Army in Louisiana, Mississippi standing by if Harvey moves east, 29 canteens ready to respond

JACKSON, MS – As Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category four hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds, The Salvation Army in Louisiana and Mississippi must wait to see if Harvey turns back to the east. Officers, staff and volunteers across the three state Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division (ALM) are prepared to respond should that happen.

“We still are anticipating flooding here in Lake Charles,” said Lieutenant Richard Watts, Lake Charles, Louisiana Corps Officer. “The potential for severe weather will be with us into next week, so we are working with our local partners to make sure our community is prepared.”

A state of emergency has been declared by the Louisiana governor. The National Weather Service models for Southwest Louisiana show locations where up to twenty inches of rain could fall over the next week.

“We are asking the public and our personnel to be diligent,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency/Disaster Services Director, ALM Division. “Just because Harvey has come ashore in Texas doesn’t mean this is over. We expect this to be at least a week-long event before we can determine Harvey’s impact here.”

The Salvation Army has 29 canteens or mobile feeding trucks stocked with water, snacks and food ready to respond if needed.

How People Can Help

The best way to help after a disaster is to make a financial donation. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.

Online: helpsalvationarmy.org

Donate By Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY

Mail Checks to:

The Salvation Army PO Box 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301

Please designate “Hurricane Harvey” on all checks.

Text to Give: STORM to 51555

ALM Canteens on Standby for Harvey

disaster prep

JACKSON, MS – With Tropical Depression Harvey moving back into the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi (ALM) is preparing for the severe weather Harvey might bring to the Gulf Coast. Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army ALM, Terry Lightheart says there is a strong likelihood Harvey could grow stronger as it moves through the Gulf.

“We are monitoring the storm closely,” said Lightheart. “We have all our canteens or mobile feeding trucks and personnel on standby to respond if we are needed.”

Lightheart says Harvey is expected to impact the coastlines of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi within the next two to five days.

“Right now, we believe the biggest threat is from flooding, so we are asking residents to stay alert to their local weather reports,” said Lightheart. “And remember, large amounts of can fall in a short amount of time and flooding can impact communities quickly, especially in low lying areas.”

Lieutenant Richard Watts is Corps Officer at the Lake Charles, Louisiana Salvation Army. At this time, Southwest Louisiana is expected to receive heavy rain from Harvey.

“We have our canteen ready to respond when called upon,” said Lieutenant Watts. “We are staying in touch with local partners so we can work together to provide the best service should our community be affected. We know rain is on the way. What we don’t know is how much.”

The Salvation Army is working with state emergency officials monitoring Tropical Depression Harvey as it moves closer to the coast. The Salvation Army is prepared to provide food, drinks, and emotional and spiritual care to communities affected by the storm in the coming days.

Salvation Army enters 2nd week of feeding after military plane crash

Itta Bena, MS – The Salvation Army, Greenwood Corps will continue feeding military personnel and law enforcement for a second week as the investigation and recovery operation is ongoing in Leflore County, Mississippi. Fifteen Marines and one naval corpsman were killed when their KC-130 military plane crashed last Monday afternoon.

“The Marines are still here, law enforcement is still here, so The Salvation Army will be here as long as there is need,” said Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis, Greenwood, Mississippi Corps Officer.

The Salvation Army began feeding Tuesday. Over the weekend, the transition was made to provide breakfast and lunch while local churches provide dinner. The Salvation Army also uses its mobile feeding truck to serve snacks and provide hydration to personnel at the crash site.

“We are working with the area Southern Baptist Association, Mississippi Valley State University and several churches, said Lt. Ellis. “This is just a bunch of folks coming together to help our military, our emergency responders and our law enforcement as they work in the extreme heat.”

So far, in the six days The Salvation Army has served in Leflore County, we have provided 1,773 meals, 2,800 drinks, 575 snacks and prayed with six individuals. With our officers, volunteers and employees have worked 174 hours.

Partnership Feeding Personnel at MS Plane Crash Site Continuing into Next Week


Partnership Feeding Personnel at MS Plane Crash Site Continuing into Next Week A KC-130 military plane carrying 16 Marines and crew crashed Monday afternoon in Leflore county, Mississippi killing all on board. The United States Marines along with emergency personnel from the Federal, state and local level are investigating and providing security to the crash site.

The Salvation Army, Greenwood, Mississippi Corps is partnering with the Southern Baptist Association to make sure all these responders are fed, hydrated and cared for while they work in the brutally hot temperatures of the Mississippi Delta.

“The Southern Baptist Association is very generous to help in this way,” said Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis, Greenwood, Mississippi Corps Officer. “They are cooking the meals, we load them on our truck, and deliver them.

Mississippi Valley State University is providing an air-conditioned building where the food can be served and those working at the crash site can cool off. Drinks and snacks are also served at the crash site. Local Churches are also providing assistance.

“We will be serving lunch and dinner starting Monday and continuing that as long as we are needed here, but we will continue our lunch service through the weekend,” said Lieutenant Ellis.

To this point, The Salvation Army has served over 1000 meals and 2000 drinks since Tuesday at lunch. and provided emotional and spiritual care to several individuals throughout the week.

“All these groups and organizations coming together to help our military and first responders really shows God’s grace in a time of terrible grief and loss for these families. Our prayers continue to be lifted up for their loss,” said Lieutenant Ellis.

The Salvation Army Serving Following Military Plane Crash in Mississippi


Leflore County, MS – A C-130 military transport plane carrying 16 Marines and crew crashed Monday afternoon in Leflore County, Mississippi near the towns of Moorhead and Itta Bena. Local media is reporting all on board were killed.

The local emergency management director requested The Salvation Army, Greenwood, Mississippi Corps serve 200 meals for lunch to emergency personnel.

“We are so saddened by what took place Monday and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the military members on board,” said Lieutenant Jamaal Ellis. “Right now, there are many emergency responders doing all they can to figure out what happened, and we will do our best to support them in this tough, emotional work.”

Federal, state, and local personnel are on site to investigate the crash and provide security to the site which covers a wide area.

“We will also offer emotional and spiritual care to these responders who need a listening ear, support or a simple prayer that God helps them through this task,” said Lieutenant Ellis.

Giving Veterans a Hand up in Shreveport

Perouz Farokhkish is proud of his service in the United States Army. Growing up Christian in Lake Charles, Louisiana to a Middle Eastern father and American mother, he saw no signs of prejudice or hatred. When he returned home after two tours supporting the war in Iraq, he couldn’t help but notice something was different.

“The best I can describe it is like a Vietnam veteran, it was very difficult,” said Farokhkish. “For me, I was a man just like anyone else.”

Following the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 9/11, Farokhkish says his Middle Eastern decent made him stand out. He isolated himself, not leaving home very much. Looking back now he says he didn’t trust people especially the Veterans Administration Hospitals he needed to get help. For fifteen years, Farokhkish kept to himself, kept his thoughts and feelings locked inside.

“When you get out, there was nothing there to help you re-balance, so you get out and all you know is to run, and if you can’t run, if something trips you, you are a complete and total failure.”

Then a referral to The Salvation Army in Shreveport changed his life. Perouz says the compassion showed by the staff in the Veteran’s shelter and by the officers helped him open up.

“I always needed to talk but didn’t know who would allow me to let it out,” said Farokhkish. “Being able to talk to other veterans was greatly helpful. For me to be able to help the elderly veterans to navigate simple things like a cell phone, it was therapeutic to think even here I could give back.”

Perouz stayed in the veterans’ shelter for five months. He now is enrolled at Louisiana State University-Shreveport studying Psychology. He is grateful to those who helped him at The Salvation Army and volunteers to this day.

“Finding other veterans who experienced similar situations was really comforting,” said Farokhkish. “And gave me a lot of solace to know that you can come out of that. It doesn’t have to stay that way forever.”

The Salvation Army of Shreveport has worked hand in hand with the Overton Brooks VA Hospital by providing transitional and emergency housing for homeless Veterans both male and female.

The veterans shelter offers 29 beds, 24 for men and five for women.

In 2016, The Salvation Army provided nearly 8,000 nights of lodging for veterans and over 20,000 meals serving 250 veterans overall.

To get more information on how The Salvation Army is helping veterans in Shreveport, please click here.

“God’s going to see us through every bit of this.”

All across the country, Salvation Army officers are slowly beginning to find their footing at new appointments. Majors Ernest (Ernie) and Debra (Debbie) Hull are no different. The Hulls spent the first seventeen years of their officerships in the Arkansas-Oklahoma Division. There they became friends and served under the current ALM Divisional Commanders, Majors Steve and Wendy Morris.

“We are known for getting corps out of debt, so they send us where corps are in debt,” Major Ernie Hull says with a smile.

Their current challenge is bigger than any they’ve faced before in every aspect…bigger city, bigger operation, bigger bills to pay. The Hulls are now leading the New Orleans Area Command. While a bigger challenge, the approach will be the same for the Hulls.

“Everywhere we go we love the community, it becomes our home,” said Major Ernie. “By bettering The Salvation Army, we will better the community at large.”

It’s definitely a team approach. Major Debbie focuses on the finances, and Major Ernie focuses on outreach.

“We’ve learned the goal is to live within our means, streamline the operation,” said Major Ernie. “Get me in front of influential people and we’ll give them the story of the Army. We are going to touch their hearts in order to make the New Orleans Area Command the most efficient command in this Division.”

Major Ernie is also very humbled to now lead the command where his friend, Major Richard Brittle, gave his life helping survivors following Hurricane Katrina.

“I was prepared, but I was humbled walking into the Richard Brittle Center of Hope, knowing my good friend gave his life to save this place. I’m just humbled to carry on a legacy of love he had here.”

New officers complete DHQ staff, celebrate with welcome brunch

The moving trucks are no longer in the driveways, and perhaps a few moving boxes are unpacked. For sure, however, all our officers across the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division are on the job and getting to know their new homes.

At DHQ, the process is no different. Divisional Headquarters lost four officers, and they have now been replaced with three officers new to the Division.

Captains Mark and Lori Hunter are out new Finance Trainee and Community Care Ministries Secretary. Lieutenant Shimei Hewitt is our new Assistant Divisional Youth Secretary.

Together with the Divisional Commanders, Major Steve and Wendy Morris, the staff at Divisional Headquarters welcomed out three new officers who make us whole once again.

Each new officers was welcomed by a member of the staff from the department they will now call home, and the CRD team of Planned Giving Director, Buddy Graves and Resource Development Director, Erica Bradshaw made sure the new arrivals where up to date on all relative ALM topics like the weather, driving in the south, and new words for their vocabulary (fixintoo).

Tables were decorated by state and with must see attractions across the Division like the NASA museum in Huntsville or the race track in Talledega.

Major Wendy brought an encouraging word for the day.

We are so excited to welcome the Captains Hunter and Lieutenant Hewitt to the Division. They are a part of the ALM family already.

Birmingham Salvation Army Serving After Tornado from Remnants of Cindy

storm preparedBirmingham, AL – The Birmingham, Alabama Command of The Salvation Army will serve meals Thursday evening after a tornado tore through several communities in and around Birmingham. This comes as Emergency Disaster Services officials warned residents of the threat of flooding and tornadoes after Cindy was downgraded early Thursday to a tropical depression.

“Emergency officials asked us to serve meals and drinks in Fairfield and at the local EMA center following this storm,” said Major Roger Glick, Commanding Officer, Birmingham Area Command. “We will also provide emotional and spiritual care to those who need someone to talk to, a prayer, or even just a hug.”

The Birmingham Area Command will provide meals and drinks to the Jefferson County Emergency Operations Center and to a mobile command center closer to where the tornado touched down in the city of Fairfield. Disaster workers will be on site until 10pm Thursday night.

“Cindy is still a threat as it moves northeast across the top of our area,” said Terry Lightheart, EDS Director, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “We know with projected rainfall from this storm more flooding could still be a possibility into the weekend. Many areas of the Division are also under a tornado watch or warning.”

With Salvation Army Corps located all across the Gulf Coast from Mobile to Biloxi to New Orleans and Lake Charles in Louisiana, officers will stay in close contact with local emergency management officials to make sure all needs are met. Shelters are also open to receive anyone who needs to escape rising flood waters.

“So far the impact of Cindy has been localized but Divisional disaster relief personnel and assets remain on standby until remnants of the storm have passed.”said Lightheart. “We would rather be prepared and not be needed than be caught off guard.”

Cindy downgraded to tropical depression, The Salvation Army still monitoring need

JACKSON, MS – The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi is still monitoring the needs across our three-state area even as Cindy is downgraded to a tropical depression. To this point, The Salvation Army has received no requests for assistance.

“Cindy is still a threat as it moves northeast across the top of our area,” said Terry Lightheart, EDS Director, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “We know with projected rainfall from this storm more flooding could still be a possibility into the weekend. Many areas of the Divison are also under a tornado watch or warning.”

With Salvation Army Corps located all across the Gulf Coast from Mobile to Biloxi to New Orleans and Lake Charles in Louisiana, officers will stay in close contact with local emergency management officials to make sure all needs are met. Shelters are also open to receive anyone who needs to escape rising flood waters.

“So far flooding has been localized but Divisional disaster relief personnel  and assets remain on standby until remnants of the storm have passed.”said Lightheart. “We would rather be prepared and not be needed than be caught off guard.”

The Salvation Army ready if needed with tropical storm heading for the Gulf Coast

JACKSON, MS (June 20, 2017) – The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi is preparing for the potential impact of Invest 93L along the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) of The Salvation Army has asked all 31 Corps and sixteen service centers across the three-state area to ready equipment and disaster personnel for deployment should the need arise.
“The first priority for The Salvation Army is to ensure its Officers, staff and volunteers are safe and that the facilities and equipment are secure,” said Terry Lightheart, EDS Director, The Salvation Army of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. “However, we are also ready to respond and provide support to those who will potentially be impacted from this storm.
The Salvation Army is working closely with state and local emergency management to monitor where the storm could possibly have the greatest impact. This also helps coordinate where to send out personnel and equipment, such mobile feeding units which provide hot meals, hydration and snacks.
Lightheart continued, “Regardless of where the impact my be, we will be ready to serve with helping hands and a willing heart.”

To keep up to date on all The Salvation Army is doing to help those in need and to donate to help us serve those in need, you can log onto our website at salvationarmyalm.org or on social media at facebook.com/ALMdivision and twitter.com/salarmyalm