Where were you born? Did it have something to do with you being a Yankees fan?
Salt Lake City, Utah; had nothing to do with it. I turned the TV on once when I was about 6 years old and the Yankees were playing and they won. I have cheered for them since.
How did you get involved in the Salvation Army?
My brother and I were in foster care while my mother was in treatment for drugs. When she got out, we lived at one of The Salvation Army’s housing units and the church was next door.
How did you meet your wife?
A Bible camp.
You came to the Fort Wayne Salvation Army in early July from Iowa. Have you served in other locations?
My wife and I served in Mason City (Iowa) for 3 years and before that, Watertown, South Dakota, for 4 years.
What have the two of you done in the Salvation Army?
What haven’t we done?!? We have done weddings, funerals, baby dedications, led people to Jesus, pastoral counseling, taught reading, letters and music. We have overseen social services, food pantries, thrift stores, congregations, camp, character building programs as well as disaster efforts. We also went to Suriname (in South America) on a mission trip with The Salvation Army.
We do work together but divide our responsibilities.
The Salvation Army’s programs affect families through its year-round programs. Can you talk about some of those non-Christmas activities?
In Fort Wayne, our after-school program and Charlotte Ministries are our flagship programs. Charlotte Ministries is a program that helps meet needs for families of children in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Outside of that, we have a food pantry and offer emergency assistance in the form of rent, utilities and bus passes. We will be implementing an intensive case management program called Pathway of Hope early next year.
Christmas is coming and the Salvation Army is hiring bell ringers. Can you talk about the Red Kettle campaign and how COVID-19 might impact it? Did you start ringing Nov. 9 as you hoped?
We did start ringing Nov 9. The Red Kettle campaign is an iconic part of the Christmas season around the country and meeting our goal helps support the programs we do throughout the rest of the year. It is imperative to bring in the desired funds if we are to continue the work mentioned above. As is everyone, we are continually monitoring COVID-19 and what is going on. Money has been tight for many in our country so we recognize many may not have an abundance to give this year. Nonetheless, we trust the concern people have for their neighbors and are counting on that.
Last year the Fort Wayne Salvation Army had raised 70% of its $240,000 Red Kettle donation goal just before Christmas until an anonymous donor helped it exceed the goal. What is the goal this year?
You recently joined Rotary Club of Fort Wayne and said you’re following the call of Jesus, who modeled service. Can you explain more?
I appreciate where and how Rotary serves. As a Christian, I look to follow Jesus in all things and He, although a King, “came not to be served but to serve and to offer His life as a ransom for many.” I am obviously not a king, but I want to follow the lead of Christ and to serve people in His name.
What have you most enjoyed about your work in the Salvation Army?
The variety. Some days I help carry food to people’s cars, sometimes I meet with CEOs. Some days I ring bells, some days I pray with the ringers themselves.
Is it a 9-to-5-type job?
If you make it that way, perhaps? I would say no, though. There are office aspects to it, but I have visited people in the hospital or had teenagers over late at night.
Have sales at the organization’s resale stores been affected by the pandemic?
I cannot answer for Indiana, but at my store in Iowa, we were shut down for three weeks and had slow traffic for a month before that. I presume Indiana is similar.
How can businesses help the Salvation Army?
Many ways, starting this Christmas. Here are some ideas…
• Match the total brought in on a weekend of kettles
• Allow your employees to take a certain location (or more!) to volunteer to ring
• Collect toys and/or clothes for Christmas assistance (be an Angel Tree site, especially if you are open for business)
Outside of Christmas, we are looking to build our advisory board and committees.
Where can people find information on the Angel Tree and other programs?
Anything else you’d like to mention?
We hope to repair old relationships and build new ones as part of The Salvation Army. Personally, my wife and I want to get to know the community as well as the folks in the community. We hope you will help us!