The Salvation Army of Gadsden, Alabama’s Annual Dinner was held on May 14, 2019. It was an opportunity for the Gadsden Corps to meet with their community of supporters and volunteers and discuss their work in the community. The speaker and guest of honor, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army Southern Territory, Commissioner Willis Howell, spoke about that work and the significant difference The Salvation Army can make in the lives of those in need. It was part of the Commissioner’s initiative to remind the community of The Salvation Army’s “Why” — why The Salvation Army exists and what it should accomplish.

Commissioner Howell spoke about the organization he leads as a safety net that can help save people who are fallen and hurting. It is a “mission and a vision of The Salvation Army that I am 100% behind,” said Gadsden Corps officer, Captain Dennis Hayes, who introduced the Commissioner. As a former student of Commissioner Howell, Captain Hayes spoke of his dedication to the Army. And it was a dedication to that vision that the Commissioner continued to address.

Commissioner Howell’s speech was about helping people in the world who are at spiritual risk in their life, as well as those in physical need. “If The Salvation Army stopped only with catching people when they fell; if all we did was stretch out our safety net to catch those who find themselves in free fall, people in communities all around the south, people would applaud,” he said. As he continued, he made the point that the “why” of The Salvation Army, in Gadsden and all over the world, is to help people find something more. Commissioner Howell said,“We don’t help people simply to help them, and that’s that. We help people to, yes, get them back on their feet, but it also gives us the opportunity as The Salvation Army to talk to them about Jesus.”