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Severe Weather Outbreak Leaves Path of Destruction across Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi

Hamilton, MS (April 14,2019)— The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division experienced a round of severe weather beginning Saturday, April 13, 2019 which has left a path of destruction throughout the three states to include downed trees and power lines, flash flooding and structural damage to more than a few communities.

Now that the system has exited the Division and moved into Georgia, Salvation Army representatives are assessing the current and future needs of the affected areas with local emergency management.

Thus far, the most severely damaged area lies in the rural community of Hamilton, Mississippi located in Monroe County. This close-knit community was struck by a tornado on Saturday evening, resulting in one confirmed fatality. The area is served by the Columbus Mississippi Salvation Army Corps which operates at the command of Lieutenant Christian Smith.

Unfortunately, Lt. Smith is no stranger to tornadoes. His own community was struck by an EF-3 tornado on February 24, 2019. For the February event, Lt. Smith quickly mobilized the Corps mobile feeding unit to provide snacks, hydration and emotional and spiritual care for Columbus residents. Once again, he is coordinating efforts to provide similar service delivery for Hamilton residents.

Lieutenant Smith reports, “As an ordained minister and a resident of north Mississippi, it is my honor to serve those affected by such a devastating storm. It is amazing how a snack or hot meal received from the hands of those who care not only nourishes the body, but the soul.”

A two-person team and mobile feeding unit from Tupelo, MS is also en route to support the efforts of the Columbus Corps.

Across the state line in Alabama the Salvation Army Dothan and Montgomery Corps will be serving along with the Pike County Service Center to provide service delivery in the community of Troy, Alabama.

(Photo is courtesy of Tupelo Corps: Lt. Thomas Johnson and Mr. William Archie preparing the mobile feeding unit with supplies)

To donate to The Salvation Army’s tornado relief efforts, go to helpsalvationarmy.org.

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

The Salvation Army responding, standing by should weather become serious over the weekend

The Salvation Army is already providing aid to residents affected by a round of severe storms moving across the southern part of our Division and first responders on the scene helping those in need. Salvation Army Officers, Majors Bert and Cristy Lind, with the Laurel, Mississippi Corps have deployed a mobile feeding unit to serve drinks and snacks in Mize, Mississippi.

Thursday afternoon the National Weather Service says an EF-2 tornado touched down near Magee in Simpson County and Mize in Smith County, both Southeast of Jackson, Mississippi. The storm toppled trees and power lines, plus damaged several homes and causing flash flooding.

Other Salvation Army Corps are on standby from Jackson to New Orleans to Mobile with more storms being forecast for this weekend. Currently, the National Weather Service is predicting severe weather throughout the weekend with the potential for more high wind and tornadic activity.

“The entire Division is on alert,” said Terry Lightheart, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army’s Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division. “Equipment and personnel are ready to deploy and provide disaster relief services as needed.”

The Salvation Army will coordinate its response with state and local emergency management officials in order to provide for areas with the most need.

Flight to the North Pole

On Dec. 15, 2015, The Salvation Army of Jackson, MS, participated in the 10th Annual Flight to the North Pole event. More than 60 children were treated to the event, where they were “flown” to the North Pole by the MS Air National Guard, met Santa & Mrs. Claus, played with elves, and each received their very own bike and sack of toys and goodies! The event was sponsored by Y101, the Mississippi Air National Guard, the Brain Injury Association, and The Salvation Army Jackson Metro Area.

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.