After more than three years overseeing the Bartow County service area, Salvation Army Capts. Lee and Michelle Wilson will bid farewell June 21.
“We received our orders to move to the divisional headquarters of the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi division of The Salvation Army,” Michelle Wilson said. “Our office will be located in Jackson, Miss. Our roles in Jackson will be in finance for myself and program for Lee.
“We are so grateful for the many blessings we have received from serving here in Bartow County. We could not have met the many challenges and opportunities that came our way without the support of the community. We truly say from the bottom of our hearts, ‘Thank you for your support.’”
She continued, “I have been amazed since our first few days here about how giving this community is, especially when it comes to nonprofits. Our kettle effort is a testimony of this, as we run a 55 percent volunteer driven effort. This far exceeds the standard of many other Salvation Army commands both small and large.”
Extending thanks to the community, the Wilsons said they were continuously impressed by the public’s willingness to help their neighbors in need.
“I think my most memorable moment is how God has provided over and over again through the generosity of others,” Michelle Wilson said. “In nonprofit work, you can be tempted to walk by sight and be discouraged by the great needs around you, but we know that as Christians we walk by faith in expectancy of what will be done for us.
“We have been, at many times throughout our 3 1/2 years, unsure of how we would meet the needs of our neighbors in need but just at the right time, the heart of a caring volunteer or generous donor would be led to support us in exactly the way that was needed.”
Operating in Cartersville since 1995, The Salvation Army — an evangelical part of the universal Christian church — aided more than 11,000 people last year with various services, such as food, financial assistance and youth character building programs. While the thrift store closed April 30, the nonprofit will hold monthly sales in the future to support The Salvation Army’s programs and services.
“In 2014, The Salvation Army served 11,324 people right here in Bartow County. That, based on 2013’s population is 11.18 percent of Bartow County that is being served by The Salvation Army,” Michelle Wilson said. “Each and every day we provide basic needs, such as food, toiletries, prescription assistance, utility assistance and disaster services.
“We also serve underprivileged children each week through our youth character building programs, which provide life skills to youth K [through] 12. Lastly, we offer our seasonal services that provide toys and clothing through the Angel Tree program to children in need, opportunities for children to attend weeklong summer camps as well as community care outreach to shut-ins throughout the county.”
In addition to The Salvation Army’s donors and recipients, Bartow’s church community also has made a lasting impression on Lee Wilson.
“Bartow County is a county that prays,” he said. “Last year my wife and I were present at the National Day of Prayer service that was held outside of the courthouse. While there, we learned of the Bible being read cover to cover in various places in the county, and we thought that was amazing. So amazing, that this year, we took our youth group to one of the locations to participate in this reading. Seeing our young people taking part in this event was something I will never forget.”
On June 28, the Wilsons’ successors — Capts. Scott and Michelle Lyles — will start serving the Salvation Army’s Cartersville Corps.
“This transition of leadership in The Salvation Army is something that happens every so often,” Lee Wilson said. “Capts. Scott and Michelle Lyles are two very capable officers, and I know that they are not only praying for their new community, but looking forward to joining the Bartow County family. It is my hope and prayer that you will embrace them as you did us, and continue to support the work of The Salvation Army as they continue to do the work that our Lord and Savior has called us all to do.”
For more information about supporting the Salvation Army, located at 16 Felton Place, call 770-386-6256 or send the nonprofit a message via its Facebook page, The Salvation Army – Cartersville, Ga.