As I near the end of my second decade of volunteer service to The Salvation Army, I can look back on dozens of experiences that have proven the wisdom of my decision to “enlist.” My favorite story will always be the first one, from which I learned in a very dramatic way about the power of the Army to do good.
It was August 1992, a month and year that will never be forgotten in South Florida. That was the year of Hurricane Andrew, the fourth most powerful hurricane ever to make landfall in our country. Andrew cut a swath of utter destruction across the Sunshine State, the effects of which are still visible in many places today.
At the time, I worked as vice president of corporate communications at Northwest Airlines. Part of my job was to oversee the company’s charitable and community activities. It was a challenging job, in part because, like all airlines then and now, Northwest was pretty much broke most of the time, and you can’t give away money that you don’t have.
We compensated by being creative and using resources other than cash to help out those in need. One of the things the company allowed me to do was to “borrow” aircraft, including the giant 747 freighters from our cargo fleet, to fly relief missions in times of need.
The need in South Florida in 1992 was tremendous and we mobilized for the task. Securing an aircraft was easy. Northwest provided the plane, our pilots and ground crews volunteered their time to fly the missions, and our fuel suppliers kicked in the jet fuel. Filling the aircraft with relief supplies also was surprisingly easy. Dozens of companies and non-profits were eager to contribute, and we quickly lined up a full load (about 250,000 pounds) of supplies ranging from medicines and medical equipment to meals to cleaning kits to portable showers.
Then came the hard part. The biggest challenge in any such operation is putting the materiel to good use once it leaves the plane. It is too easy for such things to be piled up and left in a warehouse, or to disappear into the black market to be sold. Without a tough and capable partner to receive, manage and distribute the supplies, the efforts and the gift would be wasted.
Through mutual acquaintances, I connected with Colonel Tom Jones of The Salvation Army. At the time, I of course knew about The Army and its Red Kettles and Harbor Lights, but I had no idea that they did disaster relief. I described the gift we wanted to make, provided Col. Jones and The Army could handle it.
“We’re very grateful, and we can do the job,” Col. Jones replied.
“I appreciate that, Colonel, but please understand,” I replied. “We’re talking about 250,000 pounds of supplies – 125 tons of stuff. We can only be on the ground for one hour, and there is no place to store these supplies at the airport. You have to take it all and get it off the airport and into your own warehouse in one hour. Sure you can do that?”
“No problem,” he answered.
Well, I thought, we’ll see.
We flew to Seattle for half of the load, stopped in Chicago for the other half and landed at Miami just as dusk was settling over Florida. We taxied to a remote ramp at the edge of the airport and parked the aircraft to unload. Peering out the cockpit window, I saw a sight I will never forget.
On the road just outside of the airport fence sat a line of Salvation Army trucks, lights on and engines idling, stretching out literally farther than the eye could see. One hour later the cargo was gone, the trucks were gone, and we were starting the engines to fly home.
That was the night I learned to believe in The Salvation Army. Almost twenty years later, I still believe.
Let me share a classic Salvation Army moment.
Each year my wife, Peggy, and I invite a few friends to the Salvation Army luncheon in Monterey where, in 7 minutes, the goal is to collect as many dollars as possible. We believe that it was best to not invite the same friends each year, so as not to “over tax our close friends.”
After the lunch this year, more than $160,000 was collected (and I am happy to report our kettle came in 4th place!). We were pleasantly surprised that two of our friends called to say that they were disappointed they were not invited to the luncheon, but were sending in a check to the Army.
Here’s the moral of this story. The Salvation Army is America’s favorite charity, and no matter what is the state of the economic environment, Americans want to help those who are less fortunate.
“Hand to man.” Never fail to ask. People love to give to the Salvation Army.
In fact, I am talking about the people that – because of addiction or mental issues or bad circumstances – are struggling to ‘make it’ in this – the best country in the world. While this affects relatively few of the citizens of this great country (in percentage terms), in absolute terms, the numbers are staggering. More importantly, these are people – individuals – very much like you and me.
As beneficiaries of the promise of this great nation, it is our duty – more like our obligation – to help those that need our help and want our help. However, it is hard for us to do this individually – us helping one-on-one is but a mere ‘drop in the ocean’. This is a scale problem that is in need of a scale solution.
That is where the The Salvation Army comes in. The Salvation Army has been a big part of our social fabric for over 100 years. It has been doing the work of ‘giving the hopeless hope’ for many years. More importantly, The Salvation Army is doing its work ‘on the ground’ and all over the nation. This organization is trying to solve a scale problem with a scale solution.
All this to say, that as we celebrate Independence Day, also please remember The Salvation Army. They are doing the work to provide the basic needs of people so that they can achieve the confidence and stature to truly appreciate ‘their independence’ in this great country of ours.
Like so many others, I am in the ranks of “absolutely passionate” about The Salvation Army. I love the mission, the heart, the compassion, the tenacity that embodies this amazing organization.
How many times have we heard it: “The Salvation Army is the best-kept secret in the world.”
Well now it is easier than ever to do our part to change all of that.
It has never been more important to educate our advisory organization members and share helpful, even intriguing, information about The Salvation Army. Why not identify someone on your board to begin sending brief blurbs of Army happenings to the membership in-between board meetings. It can be as simple as visiting the Army’s FaceBook page or web site, copy and pasting a link or a story. Be sure to include board, council, auxiliary, ARC and other members in the address list. Beyond educating, you will be providing info for them to use in casual conversation with others in their world who may know little or nothing about the vast breadth and depth of the Army’s work.
I attended my first Salvation Army Board meeting in 1991 after being advised that the Board was hoping to have a representative from the transportation industry. After my first tour of the various Salvation Army facilities, I was hooked! Since 1991 I have served as Chair of the Development Committee, Secretary of the Board, Vice Chair and Chair of the Board.
I would like to see each Board member become as actively involved with the programs of the Salvation Army as they possibly can – whether through project planning, donating dollars, or promoting the Army in their office and in the community. In my two years as Board Chair I worked to more fully engage our Board membership to a higher level of participation and enthusiasm for the mission of the Army. There is so much that needs to be done for the various programs but the community needs to be made aware of the needs – our job is to carry that message to those who can help and lend our expertise to getting the job done.
I especially like working on “fun(d)” type projects that not only raise dollars but educate as well. I was involved with the planning of the first Season of Giving luncheon and I still enjoy participating in that event. More recently, my efforts have been directed to supporting the Transformed Treasures Auction, which helps promote recycling, as well as sharing The Salvation Army’s story of transformation in the lives of those we serve. It is so rewarding to have people leave at the end of the program and overhear them talking about how “I didn’t realize the Salvation Army was involved in that”.
One of my greatest experiences with the Army was my recent trip to Philadelphia for the NAOC convention – to see 1800 people including many from high places come together in support of this organization was very encouraging and rejuvenating!
More than twenty years ago Beverly and I bought a place in the Palm Springs area where we intended to live part time while many of my business enterprises began to wind down.
But, you can only play so much golf, and bridge, then you feel the urge to get involved in your adopted community affairs, and to reach out to those less fortunate in life.
We had only minimal involvement with the Salvation Army during our earlier years living in the Bay Area, but we soon noticed a storefront operation in Cathedral City, which had the Salvation Army shield in front, and a lot of activity within.
Offers to lend a hand were immediately met with great enthusiasm, and soon I was asked to help form an advisory board and assist in making plans for the future.
We built that board from scratch. . . first just five of us and two of them were gone in a couple of months. My wife Beverly joined, then National Advisory Board member Dick Tucker discovered our little operation and he, too, joined up.
We were off and running!
In the years that followed we helped plan and finance a new community corps center. We bought the land, then helped out with the corps complex and in 2005 the “Dick and Beverly Davis Corps Community Center” was completed.
While it was never our intention to see our name in lights, we are so very proud of the accomplishments that we have seen grow in this desert community. In spite of its reputation for an opulent life style, much of the desert population is desperately poor, and the work we helped to found has made huge changes in the lives of these less fortunate folks.
So, I suppose the point of this whole story is simply this:
First, I firmly believe that The Salvation Army delivers “the most bang for the buck!”
Second, that The Salvation Army truly changes lives of those in greatest need.
And finally, no one should simply retire and think that one’s life work is done, no matter what your circumstance, there is always just a little more that can be accomplished through our great Army effort.
The Salvation Army has been my favorite charity since 1971; I knew nothing about The Army. I have continued to be an active volunteer to this day! I do believe in The Salvation Army and it’s program in “Helping Ohters.” The Salvation Army always comes up in my conversation with friends and family. My affiliation as a volunteer for The Salvation Army is truly a blessing. God Bless The Salvation Army!!
About four years ago I was having lunch with a friend and in the conversation he mentioned that he had gotten involved with The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Program at Lytton Springs, an installation just north of Healdsburg, California. I told him I knew nothing about The Salvation Army, other than knowing it was a world wide Christian organization. I agreed to be his guest at the next breakfast meeting at Lytton Springs.
I joined the Advisory Committee and this got me started. I have gained a great admiration for the Adult Rehabilitation Program and have become very involved as a volunteer at Lytton Spring, heading up the program group of the Advisory Committee, and in addition, have become involved in counseling the beneficiaries and teaching the anger management class.
My eyes have been opened to the tremendous need towork with drug and alcoholic addicts. The six months program at Lytton, a severty five bed facility, now only provides work therapy for the beneficiaries, but also is the catalyst by which many men come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
I cannot imagine a more rewarding way to spend time than to be part of The Salvation Army Rehabilitation Program. I am grateful that my friend mentioned Lytton Springs to me.
In 2003 I worked closely with The Salvation Army staff here in Minneapolis/St. Paul as their Christmas Campaign Chairman. The Red Kettle drive in St. Paul, MN that year was remarkable, not to mention the temperature was around 20 below zero. But, the cold did not matter. Our donors braved the cold and gave from their hearts as we rang the bell.
I can look back on a number of experiences with The Salvation Army, the Minneapolis and St. Paul Toy Shop at Christmas time, the Harbor Light heart-wrenching and yet uplifting events with Envoy Miller who welcomes all with a hug and a smile.
In the year 2006 I was asked to serve on The Salvation Army National Advisory Board. My decision to be part of the NAB was immediate. The Salvation Army’s adage “Doing The Most Good” is exactly what they do….rebuilding lives, being the first to help disaster areas, fighting human trafficking, local drug and alcoholism rehabilitation facilities. The list goes on and on.
Finally, we have had recent retirements of our Territorial Commissioners, as well as, National Commander Commissioner Israel and Commissioner Eva Gaither. They all will be missed. The amazing thing is that God working through the Army replaces them with loving talented disciples.
To serve on The Salvation Army National Advisory Board, is to serve God and to help all His people. I am truly honored to meet and work with such wonderful, humble, God-Serving members of the Army.
I have sponsored our Divisional Commander in our Rotary Club which consists of over 500 members, the 5th largest Club in the world. I take every opportunity to sit with her and introduce her to other Club members. Most of the business and community leaders in our city belong to this Club so it is excellent exposure and a good way to develop relationships. It is also good to include your Officer in any community events you are attending.
Go through your rolodex and see who you might be able to set up an appointment with to make introductions. We just had one last week with a person we had never before met with. We sat around the table just to talk. I told this philanthropist we wanted to get to know her, we wanted her to know us and also to know what we were doing. She was shocked to learn that we administer 26 programs with an annual budget of $35 million. We had agreed to a one-hour appointment so at the end of the hour I thanked her for her time and she willingly agreed to a second visit.
Try it, you’ll like it! And you may even make a new friend for the Army.
NAOC has been a big part of my Salvation Army life since I first joined the National Advisory Board. The first one I attended was in Minneapolis. The NAOC moment of that conference was the keynote speech of Paul Harvey. I had never heard a speech that adequately described the significance of The Salvation Army in the world. Paul Harvey delivered an inspired speech, an historical moment of glory.
But that was not “my” NAOC moment.
Mine came at the next NAOC, in Pasadena, California, where I served as co chair. I need to give some background. At the time of NAOC Pasadena, I had served as a member of the Manhattan Advisory Board for a long time. As a member, then chairman, I had suffered every time I would talk about the Army and my listener would respond “I had no idea.” It made me crazy. It still does. This is the largest charity in America, God’s army in over a hundred countries around the world and most people are clueless beyond the bells, the trucks, the thrift stores.
I was on fire to do something, to tell the story. I read and read the history and wrote a script for a documentary film, “Salvation Army 101”. What I learned changed me forever. When William Booth says “I wanted God Almighty to have all there was of William Booth”, I have been challenged ever since.
The world premiere of “Salvation Army 101” took place in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. It was the opening plenary session. I was seated between my husband Fred, and my Mother, Ruth Altshuler who is one of only four life members of the National Advisory Board. The entire row behind us had the General and all the Commissioners. The lights went out. My image appeared on the screen.
I dedicated the film to the person who has inspired all the good that I try to do in my life, my Mother. That was part A of “my moment”. Part B, was when I saw the tears in the faces of some of the Commissioners and heard the words “You told our story, better than we do.”
With photos, footage and letters generously offered from everyone, everywhere, I assembled a collage of images, a patchwork of borrowed work set to my script. In some cases, I had half of what I needed. I had beautiful photographs of the Slum Sisters, but nothing of the slums where they worked. I had nothing of the San Francisco earthquake. For these, I went to the Photo Archives at the Library of Congress. I was fascinated at how many images are needed. The eye does its work quickly, it does not linger.
In February of 2010, a friend who was speaking at the ARC Banquet got me to come with him. It was a “western theme” and I was in a suit. I had not been there more than a few minutes when the “sheriff” came up to me and put me in their jail. As they were serving dinner, with the smell of the great food filling the air, the “sheriff” came to me and said I could get out on “parole” if I would agree to consider being on the ARC Advisory Committee. I was really hungry. The smell and sight of this great food were overwhelming, I agreed.
During the program, I heard several men give their story of recovery and I was impressed. As I observed that day, I realized this was an organization which sees each of these men in the same way God sees them: as valuable, individuals whom He loves. I saw those in the ARC love them too. As I learned more and more I realized the ARC is first and foremost a spiritual program, a Christ-centered program whose goal is to reach these men with addictions and give them the opportunity for a true recovery. This recovery includes the entire man. Spiritual recovery occurs through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Mental and physical recovery occurs as the men get sober, learned how to live a sober life, and every day witness God’s love for them in the lives of those involved with their recovery.
I was hooked! As I got more and more involved with ARC, I became really hooked! I thank God daily for ARC and pray for His blessings on this organization.
Many years later and 3,000 miles away, I happened upon a small Salvation Army operation in Solano County, and asked, “Why aren’t I a member of your advisory board?” As it turned out, they didn’t have one. I had forgotten, but quickly re-learned, when you raise your hand around the Army, somebody is going to take you up on it.
We gathered up some community leaders, and started a new board. It limped along, then fizzled. Soon, however, the mission changed, and everything changed. The Suisun City Corps has now been designated the Western Territory’s 7th and final Kroc Center, with dynamic leadership, and a board of a dozen members is enthusiastic, engaged, and growing! I’m proud to be a part of it, and I hope my small service honors the many years of service rendered by my parents.
– John D. Hodson, Esq., CFLS
Hodson & Mullin, Attorneys at Law
Vacaville and Fairfield, California
I’m excited to finally have a chance to stop and write as a part of the MySABoard.org community. I’m writing today to update all of you on some exciting work going on to enhance The Army’s outreach to young adults.
First, a bit of context: I’ve been working with the Salvation Army since 2007 when I began working as a Board liaison with the current National Advisory Board (NAB) Chairman, Rob Pace. Since that time, I’ve had a chance to meet so many extraordinary people who, with pure hearts, dedicate so much time, energy and excellence to meet human need in the Lord’s name all around the world. In addition to joining the NAB in April of this year, I’ve also been asked to co-chair an NAB Task Force focused on identifying ways for the Army to really engage people of my generation – the 18 – 36 year-olds across America – who are looking for ways to have an impact in the community.
The vision for The Salvation Army’s young adult outreach is clear: over the next three-to-five years, we want to establish and grow a national network of service-oriented young adults who will be active in all aspects of The Salvation Army’s Mission . The Army seeks to serve as a convening organization, bringing together young Americans from all walks of life to participate in broad opportunities for service to humanity. From serving in times of disaster relief to participating in anti-human trafficking efforts to helping addicts see the way out of addiction, we want The Salvation Army to become one of the most trusted avenues that young adults select for non-profit service and giving.
As a second career, Rob served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve for 30+ years, including service as the Naval Liaison Officer for Alaska, retiring as a Captain in 2000.
Rob is most proud of his 25 years as a supporter of The Salvation Army, helping to keep the bells ringing during the Christmas holidays. In addition to serving on the Anchorage Advisory Board, Rob is a member of The Salvation Army Serendipity Adult Day Services Advisory Council.
Rob and his wife, Lea Anne, have two daughters, Laura Klein and JJ McWhorter, a frequent Salvation Army helper.
The Salvation Army
Anchorage Advisory Board Chair
Recently, my fourteen year old son, Beck and I had the opportunity to visit with Captain Terry Masango, Salvation Army Corps Officer and pastor at the Renton Rotary Food Bank and Corps Community Center in Washington State. By spending the afternoon with Captain Terry, we saw firsthand how we are ‘Doing the Most Good’ here in the greater Seattle area.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Captain Terry and his wife, Captain Rutendo Masango first came to the US in 2000, and then to the Renton Salvation Army location in 2006. Captain Terry is fifth generation Salvation Army, growing up with the understanding that the local Salvation Army was his “family church”.
With Captain Terry’s leadership, the Renton Food Bank has implemented an innovative program, reaching out to kids in the area by providing a reliable source of meals on weekends. In the local school district, 50% of the kids participate in the federal reduced-price lunch program. Beginning in 2008, the Food Bank began working with the schools to identify kids needing help, some of whom are homeless, and then provide backpacks with healthy, kid-oriented foods including fresh fruit and easy to prepare items. Seeing the backpacks, others assume the kids are toting homework and personal items when they are actually carrying their own food lifeline, bridging the weekend meal gap.
The Masango’s prayers have continually been answered and the program has been an outstanding success. The number of kids served currently stands at 247 per week and other schools are asking to join. Financial support has been provided by the Army and many in the community, but more is needed in order to continue. If you would like to help support the program, please contact Captain Terry Masango, The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 977, Renton, WA, 98057, [email protected], (425) 255-3012.
The backpack program is another great example of how The Salvation Army is a catalyst for, ‘Doing The Most Good’. Through caring individuals like Captain Terry and his team in Renton, we are identifying needs in our own community and responding in unique and innovative ways.
It was my great honor to once serve as the Chairman of the National Advisory Board (NAB) of The Salvation Army in America. A major focus of the NAB during my tenure was on the development of a long-range strategic plan. As I met with the Army’s advisory boards and officer personnel in Divisions around the country, I was struck by how many of you are also undertaking or contemplating a similar exercise. It is critical for any Salvation Army entity that desires to undertake a strategic plan to have strong alignment with their respective counter-part within the Army. Change is hard. This is particularly true at any organization as established and successful as The Salvation Army. I would never recommend undertaking a strategic planning process if Army leadership is not equally committed and driving it. Prayer is vital. I am convinced that God has anointed The Salvation Army due to our passion to serve the marginalized and to proclaim his Gospel. At certain junctures in our process, I feared that frustrations and obstacles might derail our whole process and be a major setback to our organization for years to come. At key times, I definitely felt God’s direct hand over the process. Be faithful. He will provide!
It is of course a vitally important first step for new Advisory Board members to be taken on a tour of all of your local facilities and programs — the only way to really get a grasp on the incredible myriad ways your local Salvation Army Does the Most Good! But it’s an equally good idea to take your entire Advisory Board on a “refresher” tour every year or so, to keep the members up to date and in touch with what’s going on in your community and corps.
Our San Francisco Metro Advisory Board chartered a bus, and a good majority of our board members devoted an entire day for a fun and enlightening tour: from the ARC to the Chinatown corps, it’s great to see first-hand all the wonderful work being done. At each stop, officers and staff can also let the board know about their particular triumphs, accomplishments, and challenges. Your officers and troops on the ground will appreciate knowing the board is there to help, and this helps plant fresh ideas for ways the board can better provide support and move the mission. And, of course, it wouldn’t be the Army without a good lunch stop! Our former chairman even brought along his guitar, and as the tour wound down led the whole bus in a rousing rendition of “Kumbala” (pretty good for an investment banker)!
It’s a great way to build board solidarity, help your board remain in touch with the needs and opportunities at the corps level, and show support to your clients, officers, soldiers and employees. So, get on the bus!
Last week I had one of the best days of consulting in a while. I had three different encounters with three different sets of people. I met with people committed to make a difference for the church they love, three brothers working hard to make their “American Dream” come true and non for profit and business professionals coming together to serve the underprivileged. I witness Americans at their best. Working hard to make a difference in the lives of their family and giving of themselves to improve the lives of others. It was a good day.
The senior team at the Rock Church in San Diego had a robust dialogue about how to reach more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were looking for new ways to Save, Equip and Send more people. They were willing to reinvent their already out of the box paradigm in order to reach people not only around the San Diego metropolitan area but also around the world. They were willing to venture into the unknown because that is what they do. They don’t allow anything to get in the way of their mission. They know that God is on their side guiding their every step. Their American Dream is not to chase the next big deal, no; their American Dream is to save more souls for Jesus. They know that they don’t work for man. They work for God.
At “Lucha Libre”, a local San Diego Mexican restaurant owned and operated by the Rojano brothers, the lines were long- all the way out the door and down the side walk. People were willing to wait 30 minutes to order and get their food because they know the food is worth the wait. The three brothers, who are the children of emigrant parents, have created something special for Mexican food lovers. The have lines most of the day if not all day long. Some come because they saw the restaurant on TV; others because they are in love with the food and want to get their fix. The brothers are creating jobs and inspiring others to do the same. They are not interested in being members of a welfare state or in succumbing to the stereotypes of others. They appreciate their luck and they know that their luck is directly related to their years of hard work. They are risking their hard earned capital; to put it all on the line in pursuit of their American Dream. The American Dream. Oh Yea!
At The headquarters of The Barrio Logan College Institute, in a 60 year old building without air conditioning with an outside temperature of 80 degrees, six HR professionals volunteered to give unselfishly of their time to help young under privileged high school and college students prepare for the work force. These students come from one of the toughest barrios in San Diego. The students want out of their circumstances and are willing to work hard to do so. For three hours the six volunteers answer the questions asked and the one that were not. They talked to the students about getting a professional email address; do not use [email protected] gmail.com, change your voice mail greeting-remove the loud rap music, clean up your Face book page, prepare a resume, etc. The students listen and took notes eating and processing every word said. It was people living the American Dream helping others to achieve theirs.
It was a good day.
When I was first asked to attend an ARC lunch meeting, I was not really sure how or what the ARC does. As I’ve become a member and an officer of the ARC council, I am overwhelmed with how many people and in how many ways the ARC helps men and families return to enjoying their lives and being productive to themselves and loving to their families and their communities. This feeling was magnetized to me when actor Hugh O’Brian, aka Wyatt Earp, agreed to come to San Jose to be a speaker at our Sobriety banquet. In 1958 when Hugh O’Brian visited me while I was dying in a Texas Children’s Hospital with a heart disease, he left me with words that for the last 50+ years have given me the strength and the encouragement to want to live, and the aspiration to help others have that same desire. It was my goal and hope that his speech and presence at our Sobriety banquet could do the same for many of the men here.
ARC Council Member