Indirect hit from Hurricane Sally swamps Brunswick, Ga., Corps

Indirect hit from Hurricane Sally swamps Brunswick, Ga., Corps

By: David Ibata

Most of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sally happened in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle on the Gulf Coast, but it only took part of the storm brushing past to cause havoc with The Salvation Army corps in Brunswick, Georgia, on the Atlantic.

“Although we did not get a direct hit, the storm pulled moisture from the Atlantic across our area as it built into a hurricane, giving us about 10 inches of rain in isolated areas, mainly downtown Brunswick,” said Sergeant Pamela Starr, administrator at The Salvation Army of the Golden Isles. “The early morning of Sept. 16, we received several inches of rain in just a few hours.”

About 1½ inches ended up inside the chapel and fellowship hall of the corps building. Carpeting, floor tile, and wooden furniture and doors were total losses. Not to mention there’s mold and mildew in the walls and baseboards. The altar also was water-damaged and will have to be refurbished.

“We don’t use the building very often, so we didn’t find the damage until about 36 hours after the storm,” Sergeant Starr said. “By the time we called ServPro, so many other people had reported losses, we were last on the list.”

Across the street, the corps administration building sustained minor damage from a leaking roof. The Red Shield Services shelter came through unscathed. The mobile feeding unit (canteen) was parked outside and had water up to its floorboard and in the cab and rear of the vehicle, “but a wet vac took care of that,” Sergeant Starr said. “Our van was watertight and did not sustain damage.”

Things could have been worse. Earlier this summer, the corps replaced the wooden pews in the chapel with individual chairs. The pews surely would have been lost, but the metal-legged chairs, their upholstered fabric high above the water, came through OK.

So did everything else on shelves off the floor, such as books and other materials. Happily, the water also stopped short of the piano, and the instrument survived, if out of tune.

All the undamaged stuff now goes into a big shipping container in the corps parking lot while clean-up and repairs continue. The corps is awaiting word from its insurance agent and expects to be out of its building at least two months.

In the meantime, Sergeant Starr said, “We are now going to have Angel Tree sign-ups in the shelter instead of the corps – even having some of it outside on the porch in order to maintain social distancing. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Having vacated its building earlier this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the corps returned in August and had met only four Sundays before the flood. Now it’s back to “Church in a Box.” Sergeant Starr packs up boxes with written songs, prayers, Scripture reading, mission alignment message, lesson and other contents, and delivers them to corps families every Sunday morning.

“Just continue to pray for us. Really pray for us,” Sergeant Starr said. “It’s tough to be out of the corps building. We had just gotten back in there. We have a small congregation, and we’ve been trying to build it up, and then this happened. It’s a setback. But we were planning to start worship in the park; this will just get us out and about quicker.”


Coronavirus cancels train, but ‘Holiday Express’ fundraising is full speed ahead

Coronavirus cancels train, but ‘Holiday Express’ fundraising is full speed ahead

For nearly two decades, the Kansas City Southern Railroad has dispatched a “KCS Holiday Express” to communities across the South and Midwest to spread good cheer and raise funds for The Salvation Army. The COVID-19 outbreak has canceled this year’s excursion, but the fund-raising will go on.

The Kansas City, Missouri-based railroad has set up a 2020 KCS Holiday Express website where donations can be made:

Traditionally, the Holiday Express has stopped in 20 or more communities, drawing big crowds in five or six states between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At each stop, visitors can board the train, meet Santa and his elves, and tour three cars of a six-car train festooned in holiday lights and decorations. Funds raised at each stop go toward warm clothing and other necessities for children in need.

“While it is not safe to gather for free visits with Santa Claus and tours of the Holiday Express train this year, the need for the charitable component of the program is greater than ever,” said Patrick J. Ottensmeyer, KCS president and CEO.

The KCS Holiday Express has raised more than $2.1 million for The Salvation Army over the last 19 years. Communities designated to receive funds this year include Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, Laredo and Port Arthur in Texas; Baton Route, New Orleans, Shreveport and Westlake in Louisiana; Gulfport, Jackson and Vicksburg in Mississippi; Decatur, Arkansas; and Heavener, Oklahoma.

The 2020 train honors one of the event’s founding elves, Tillie Caileff, who was integral to the Holiday Express program’s success and who passed away earlier this year.


Augusta command capitalizes on chance to upgrade Family Store operation

Augusta command capitalizes on chance to upgrade Family Store operation

By: David Ibata

The Salvation Army in Augusta, Georgia, had a problem: An obsolete building that did not work well as a Family Store, in a location that no longer made sense, that cost too much to operate, with a long-term lease that could not easily be gotten out of. Then, a work of Providence.

“Another company reached out to us and wanted the location and was willing to buy us out of our lease, so it was a win-win,” said Major Douglas McClure, Augusta area commander.

That opened the way to the creation of The Salvation Army Augusta Donation Center, whose sole purpose is to process incoming goods for the Family Stores. It’s a model Major McClure hopes will lead to economic self-sufficiency for some of the Augusta Command’s social service programs.

Augusta, a city of about 201,000 people 150 miles east of Atlanta, is a small-store market, Major McClure said; a small retailer that devotes most of its space to sales can be successful. Yet a traditional, nonprofit thrift store must devote a big chunk of real estate to prepping donated goods for resale; “if you don’t have a place to process things, it won’t work.”

The Salvation Army this summer closed its former store on Wrightsboro Road near the Augusta Mall regional shopping center; roughly one-third of the unit’s 30,000 square feet was devoted to processing. The Donation Center officially opened Sept. 1 in a leased, 12,000-square-foot building on Benchmark Drive west of the city. The entire space is dedicated to handling incoming goods.

“It houses all baling operations, has steel racks for long-term storage, pallet racks, a testing center for electronics, a processing area for clothing, and a truck bay, which is nice – we can actually get a truck in and out of there at dock height,” Major McClure said. “It also sits on the Richmond and Columbia county line, so it’s a good location for receiving donations.”

The Augusta Command continues to operate a Family Store with 6,000 square feet across the Savannah River in North Augusta, South Carolina.

The strategy, being spearheaded by Rick Moore, director of operations, is to eventually open four more similarly sized stores whose stock will come from the Donation Center. Because the stores won’t process donations, they’ll be able to devote up to 85 percent of their space to sales.

Also, Major McClure said, “instead of getting a buggy full of clothes, you’ll get clothes neatly hung on racks, ready to sell. It will take a lot of strain off the individual stores.”

It’s not a new concept. Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers in major metropolitan areas process items centrally and distribute them to Family Stores. “Most Walmarts are set up the same way; it’s more of a corporate model of operation,” Major McClure said.

With more stores operating more efficiently, the major said, “we should be able to fully fund our Center of Hope and the jobs skills program with the revenues generated by the Family Stores. This will decrease our reliance on grants and individual donations, which can vary widely from year to year.”

Additionally, the new outlets could open in rural communities where The Salvation Army does not yet have a presence. Major McClure envisions them hosting “backyard vacation Bible schools, social services outreach, and community gatherings like Easter festivals and Christmas events.

“Worship services, too. Family Stores with worship are called ministry outposts. That’s a real possibility, long term. We’re getting outside our four walls and going to where the people are.”


How Georgia’s music conservatory came to bear Daniel Meeks’ name

(L-R) wife Sunshine, daughters Ana and Dakota, Daniel

All Photo Credits: Laura Dake

How Georgia’s music conservatory came to bear Daniel Meeks’ name

By: David Ibata

When Daniel Meeks learned the surprising and shocking news – on stage, at virtual youth councils in August – that The Salvation Army’s Georgia Division was honoring him by renaming its summer music program the Kimball-Meeks Music Conservatory, his first reaction was: Wait, isn’t this a little too soon?

“Because I’m still alive,” he said. “Usually these things come about after you pass away, they name something after you. But it’s a great honor. I’m grateful for the recognition.”

Meeks has been divisional music director in Georgia since 2001, shortly after he graduated from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, with a bachelor’s degree in music education. But his connection to Salvation Army music, Georgia Division style, goes back to the summer of 1988.

The Lyman C. Kimball Music Conservatory, named for a Salvationist musician from Augusta, Georgia, was founded two years earlier as the first conservatory in the Southern Territory.

Young Daniel was 12 years old when he started attending. He and his officer parents, then-Captains William and Darlene Meeks, had recently moved from the Texas Division, and he decided to take up the cornet. Off to the conservatory he went.

“I spent six straight weeks at Camp Grandview,” Meeks said. To this day he remembers – besides the long, long time away from home – “the friends I made; the caliber of music being played, even though I was just beginning; and the people, the fellow campers and instructors.”

Meeks couldn’t stay away. Every summer, he returned to camp (he did change his instrument to the euphonium). Even after his parents were transferred in 1990 to the Maryland-West Virginia Division, he said, the conservatory “let me keep coming back.”

Meeks joined the staff as a junior instructor in 1993 and rose to senior instructor for brass. After graduating from Shepherd, he was hired as Georgia assistant DMD in May 2001. That October, he was promoted to the full job.

“The conservatory set my path to wanting to become a divisional music director,” Meeks said. “I just remember that when my parents got transferred out of Georgia, I was like look, I want to come back to Georgia some day and be the DMD. That was my goal. There were some hiccups along the way … but coming back every summer kept me connected to Georgia.”

Lt. Colonel William Mockabee, Georgia divisional commander, said of the music conservatory’s renaming, “I decided that because of Daniel’s faithfulness to The Salvation Army and the Georgia Division Music Department, this would be a fitting tribute. … He’s sat in all the seats and had the opportunity and invitation to leave a couple of times for other divisions that were interested in him, but because of his family and his dedication to Georgia, he stayed here.”

“What makes him so special to me and folks here in Georgia is, the program is about more than music proficiency. It’s about what’s going on inside a kid – their spiritual well-being, how they’re doing in school and the community. He’s proven himself interested in making well-rounded young people of those in his ministry.”

Nick Simmons-Smith agreed.

“Daniel has a phrase: Don’t quit on the kids,” said the territorial music and creative arts education secretary. “Every summer he says that to his staff. He loves pouring into young people, and he does it in a very humble and unassuming way, with careful, gentle, solid and wise leadership. And he’s really shaped a lot of young people, almost as a surrogate parent to some of them.

“Some of the kids who come into our program don’t have the best family backgrounds,” Simmons-Smith said. “Daniel’s able to speak into their lives and shape them. That’s really important for the hundreds of young people who have come through the program. He’s had an impact on their lives. Colonel Mockabee wanted to recognize the servant leadership Daniel brought to us.”

Meeks is a soldier at Atlanta Temple Corps, where he’s involved in the senior and youth music programs. He and his wife Sunshine and their daughters Ana Stezia and Dakota Syne live in Snellville, Georgia.

Meeks said the conservatory “helped build in me a passion for music and arts and how they can be used to build the kingdom of God and bring others closer to Jesus. To me, that’s the power music can have: to help build people up and form a better relationship with Christ. We have these talents God has given us. We should use them to share Christ with others.”


Kroc Center helps ‘Anchor’ kids in virtual learning

Kroc Center helps ‘Anchor’ kids in virtual learning

By: Josie Showers and Marleen Mallory

Hebrews 6:19 (TNIV): “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

“In these unknown days, the Anchor Learning Center stands as a secure place of support as we navigate this academic year successfully alongside our Kroc families.” The purpose statement for The Anchor Learning Center is the guide we use to ensure we are providing a safe learning environment for children to access their school’s virtual education while they are not physically attending school.

Late this summer, in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the public school districts surrounding the Hampton Roads, Virginia, Kroc Center announced their virtual learning plans for the 2020-21 school year. This spurred the Kroc Center to step in to help families.

Within days, the Anchor Learning Center (ALC) became a reality. From day one, it has been at capacity, with a waiting list and daily receiving phone calls from interested families.

Enrollment was opened to the families participating in existing Kroc programming and membership. Our enrollment profile includes 22 children from 13 schools in two school districts. The program is intended for grades 1-5; however, there are two families of eligible students with siblings in sixth grade, and they have been able to join.

The Kroc Center provides staff to monitor and assist with virtual learning, school supplies as needed, internet access for virtual learning, computers for students who need them and additional activities outside of their scheduled school classes, such as crafts, music lessons and physical education. Our partnership with the USDA Food Bank Program and Food Bank of Southern Hampton Roads ensures our children receive breakfast and lunch, plus an afternoon snack each day.

The Kroc Center administration ensures government safety and health guidelines are followed, providing a safe environment for our students. Staff and families are asked a series of health questions each day, and students’ temperatures are checked upon arrival. Extra attention to cleaning, use of hand sanitizing stations and handwashing are a priority throughout the day. The students’ workstations are measured to be six feet apart (with the exception of siblings).

The week prior to the start of school was an intensive training week for staff much more accustomed to running summer camp. Training included several days of classroom management with an educational consultant, additional food bank training, Norfolk Public School virtual training for child care providers, training in health regulations specifically for COVID-19 and organizing creative activities for children when they are not actively engaged in online education.

The Anchor Learning Center is a vital part of our community. Two elementary school principals with students in the program have visited and expressed their gratitude.

Parents have been overwhelmingly thankful as well. Two families stated they were contemplating quitting their jobs to make sure their children could attend school; the ALC allowed them to stay employed and rest secure in their children’s education.

Also, 86 percent of the children in the program receive an income-based scholarship. The base rate for the program is $100 a week, and scholarships reduce families’ weekly outlay to $15 to $50. From the beginning, an important factor in the program’s development has been to ensure participation wasn’t limited because of the cost.

The Anchor Learning Center at the Kroc Hampton Roads is a vital part of the academic and developmental success of the students enrolled.

Josie Showers is program director and Marleen Mallory is assistant program director at The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Hampton Roads. Related story: “The education gap was shrinking before COVID-19,”


Moody Family Center for Worship & Service dedicated in Texas City

Moody Family Center for Worship & Service dedicated in Texas City

By: Philip Burn

The Salvation Army Moody Family Center for Worship and Service in Texas City was dedicated on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. Donors, community leaders, DHQ and local officers and staff gathered to celebrate the completion of the project that has been in the planning for more than three years.

Rather than a new construction, The Salvation Army successfully purchased and renovated an existing church in a prime location with great visibility in the city. The facility includes a beautiful chapel, classrooms, administration offices, a new Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club and a park. The Moody Foundation donated $1.5 million to the project and was represented at the event by Allan Matthews, grants director of The Moody Foundation. Also donating gifts were The J.E & L.E Mabee Foundation, Richard and Susan Anderson, Valero, The Meadows Foundation and Chris Doyle, advisory board chair, and his family. Former Texas City Mayor Charles Doyle, along with his wife Mary Ellen Doyle, Chris Doyle’s parents, came forward to make the crucial final gift ensuring that The Salvation Army qualified for a matching foundation gift.

Texas City Mayor Matt Doyle presented a proclamation to Majors Nathanael and Lucila Doria, commanding officers, and thanked The Salvation Army for renovating a church that may have otherwise sat vacant. The City of Texas City has partnered with The Salvation Army throughout the project and invested significant resources in landscaping and a water line. In addition, the city built a beautiful park on the lot next to the building named The Salvation Army Park.

In his dedicatory address, Lt. Colonel Ronnie Raymer, Texas divisional commander, presented an award to Chris Doyle recognizing his leadership, vision, and work in support of The Salvation Army as chair of the advisory board. He also challenged the board and community to continue their support as The Salvation Army operates the facility and expands its work and programs in Texas City.

“We’re so grateful to the citizens of Galveston County and particularly Texas City that have made this amazing gift possible to The Salvation Army. This is going to a beacon of hope for this community, and a beacon of God’s love for the whole area,” Lt. Colonel Raymer said.

After the dedication service, The Texas City/La Marque Chamber of Commerce led a community ribbon cutting signifying the opening of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. The Salvation Army has worked in Texas City since 1981, and the new facility will provide additional service opportunities to the community, particularly in youth work at the new Boys & Girls Club.


Commissioner Louise Morris Promoted to Glory

Commissioner Louise Morris Promoted to Glory

Commissioner Louise Morris was Promoted to Glory Sept. 19 from Emory University hospital in Atlanta, surrounded by her family. She and her husband, the late Commissioner Ted Morris, served as Salvation Army officers in the Southern Territory for many years and as territorial leaders in Japan.

Commissioners Ted and Louise Morris married Nov. 1, 1957, and served in corps appointments in Texas and Georgia and on divisional staffs in Maryland-West Virginia, Kentucky-Tennessee and Texas. In 1961, they were called to overseas service and went to Japan, where they served for more than 20 years in what would become their adopted homeland. Their appointments there included the training college and territorial headquarters and eventually as territorial leaders.

The Morrises retired Sept. 30, 1998, and made their home in Atlanta, where they continued their long ministry by providing pastoral care to Salvation Army officers.

Born Aug. 1, 1932, in Beckley, West Virginia, Commissioner Louise Morris was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Reba Holmes, and her beloved husband, Ted, Jr. She is survived by sons Major Ted III (Pamala), Major Ken (Connie) and Lt. Colonel Stephen (Wendy) Morris; grandchildren Jordan (Erica), Luke (Satyn), Anna, Tom (Victoria), David, Angela and Andrew; and great-grandchildren Paige, Leon, Riley and Aaryn.

The funeral service will be held at the Atlanta Temple Corps Thursday, Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. Visitation will take place just prior to the service, beginning at 9 a.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, registration is required at


Salvation Army relief teams still at work after Hurricane Sally

Army relief teams still at work after Hurricane Sally

The Salvation Army continues bringing relief to western Florida and southern Alabama after Hurricane Sally lumbered through the region last week, causing widespread flooding and power outages. The slow-moving storm dumped more than two feet of rain in the area before continuing inland.

In Florida, 12 canteens are feeding residents in Pensacola, and another one is operating in Panama City. The Salvation Army is partnering with Florida Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to provide food for 10,000 residents each day. The feeding operation is located at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, along with the Army’s Incident Command Post. Along with the meals prepared by SBDR, Army disaster teams are distributing 20,000 fresh cold meals provided by Wholesome Kitchens.

As of today, The Salvation Army has provided 25,231 prepared meals, 16,966 drinks and 20,110 snacks. Spiritual and emotional care has been given to 328 individuals.

In Baldwin and Mobile counties in south Alabama, the Category 2 storm ravaged Baldwin and Mobile counties, bringing down trees and power lines, leaving many Baldwin County residents without utilities. Most of the residents have had their power restored, but complete restoration may not occur before next week. Seven canteens are serving in the area, and a 12-passenger van is delivering food. Thus far, 15,896 meals have been served, along with 8,000 drinks and 9,857 snacks. Also, shelter has been provided for 45 people.


The new normal and the corps of today and tomorrow

The new normal and the corps of today and tomorrow

By: Brad Rowland

Six months after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, Salvation Army leaders are looking ahead to how things must change as doors open to corps and administrative buildings across the USA Southern Territory. With that as the backdrop, a panel convened in mid-September, first recording a multi-part conversation for Soundcast’s Words of Life podcast to be released in October across all platforms. From there, a similar group came together for a live, streaming conversation via Zoom and Facebook, discussing the developments to this point and glancing at the takeaways that should arrive with an eye toward the future.

“We wanted to have these kinds of conversations in a public forum, in part because there are sometimes challenges in presenting best practices with each other,” said Bernie Dake, territorial director of communications. “It allows people to be able to communicate those things in a way that others can engage with whenever they choose, seeing people they trust and hearing what others are going through.”

Dake was joined in the public forum by an eight-member panel, representing different constituencies and intentionally diverse in its makeup.

  • Lieutenant Nicolas Arroqui, corps officer in Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • Captain Liz Blusiewicz, corps officer in Huntington, West Virginia
  • Chanhyung Chang, mission specialist for the Atlanta International Corps
  • Major Jerry Friday, territorial mission and cultural ministries secretary
  • Captain Malaika Good, divisional youth secretary for Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi
  • Lieutenant Chris Raymer, corps officer in Frederick, Maryland
  • Major Angela Repass, corps officer at Atlanta International
  • Jeremy Rowland, territorial sergeant major and CSM of the Gwinnett County, Georgia, Corps

The conversation, which can be seen below in its entirety, included numerous topics. The group began by discussing local reactions to COVID-19 in the early days of its impact, with a pivot to a discussion on the reality of mental and emotional challenges prompted by quarantine-driven isolation.

Major Friday noted the success of a telephone hotline, started in the Southern Territory, in providing hope and a listening ear.

“Our phones are ringing a lot more in the past six months than they were before,” said Lieutenant Raymer. “I count it a joy to be a listening ear for people to call.”

From there, countless stories were told of how The Salvation Army went to work, making the most of the situation and providing help and spiritual care to many.

“It was very organic for us,” said Captain Blusiewicz. “When crisis happens, that is who we are in The Salvation Army. We embody doing things and doing it in the name of Jesus, and it starts with discipleship and having that relationship with the Lord.

“Our soldiers started a sidewalk Sunday school, using materials from the Orange curriculum and some stuff from ministry toolkit … They would go out to our kids’ homes and to soldiers’ homes, taking as much or as little technology, and just play with the kids and be in the front yard. What we saw happening was everybody was looking at that yard saying, ‘What in the world is going on with the Salvation Army bus down there?’ and everyone would come out. It became a standard thing. Our soldiers would blitz communities, tell stories and then come back and do it again.”

There was an emphasis on collaboration and the sharing of resources, with Captain Good shedding light on the creation of “Church in a Box” and the overwhelmingly positive utility of The Salvation Army’s Ministry Toolkit. In addition, the notion that the pandemic prompted the Army to extend beyond its walls permeated the conversation.

“When we think of the church, this embodies what the church is,” Rowland said. “The building is not our church. The people are the church, so how are we engaging with the people who are in need and who are broken?

“My biggest concern is that we, as an army, think that getting back into the corps and into our traditional format is the end-all … We have to be extremely intentional. We can’t allow that comfort zone to stop us from reaching people. We have to be creative, engaging and intentional in sharing the gospel.”

There were questions posed about the future, acknowledging the relative uncertainty of what is to come. Still, the message was notably positive, with a charge to continue to prioritize ministry and to take advantage of the opportunities that have arisen from this challenging season.

“I think COVID has brought us into asking some of these questions of what really matters and what’s important,” Captain Blusiewicz said. “Where are the boundaries of ministry? And Jesus, where are you? Can I just grab your tassels because I want to be where you are? And I don’t think he’s in an empty chapel.”

“Our divisional commander told us, ‘Do not retreat. We’re in war, and this is not the time to retreat.’ To me, it’s mind-blowing and it causes us all to be fired up,” Lt. Arroqui said. “This is very encouraging to hear all that you’re doing, and a lot of us are doing so much in our community. A community that desperately needs us … That ‘do not retreat’ just keeps coming back in my mind. We need to reach out to people. We need to be responsible, too, but we need to share the hope that we have.”

Plans are in the works to deliver similar conversations on a monthly basis, with the intentionality to keep the conversation alive and to ensure the best deployment of the Army.

“It was a great conversation,” Dake said. “I’m inspired by the themes, ranging from the blitzing of the community to hearing the sentiment that we are in a war that we can’t retreat from during and after this time. I could feel the spirit of Salvationism bubbling up inside me and a charge to go make a difference.”


Mural near THQ helps tell The Salvation Army’s story to passersby

Mural near THQ helps tell The Salvation Army’s story to passersby

By: David Ibata

A mural depicting 130 years of Salvation Army history in New Zealand took artist Allan Wrath six hours to create at the Midland Division Youth Councils in 2019. Now that image, “Hope to Generations,” has jumped 8,200 miles to the United States to inspire a similar mural at Southern Territorial Headquarters in Georgia.

Commissioner Willis Howell, territorial commander, read about Wrath’s art-on-the-fly creation in the October 2019 issue of The War Cry for New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. He recommended the artwork to a committee taking suggestions for a wall of a Salvation Army-owned warehouse that faces the recently completed Peachtree Creek Greenway of the city of Brookhaven.

The new mural “highlights so many different aspects of service The Salvation Army is involved with,” said committee member Lt. Colonel Kathy Hobgood, assistant secretary for program and territorial overseas project officer. “It tells our story and shows our church, the Adult Rehabilitation Center, and our social services and camps.

“It’s not big enough to share everything, of course, but one of the comments made was because there’s so much there, maybe one time you’d pass by and notice one part, and the next time you’d walk by and see something fresh and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know the Army did that.’”

Major Anne Westmoreland, project manager and divisional secretary for women’s ministries in the National Capital and Virginia Division, said, “We wanted to share a positive message and bring hope to the community. People were walking by every day, just looking at that blank wall. They may not have had any idea what was behind that wall – The Salvation Army – and why we do what we do.”

The warehouse, in the lower parking lot of THQ, offered a blank white canvas 55 feet wide by 25 feet tall. THQ put out a call for mural ideas last fall, and 10 proposals were received from four individuals (some accompany this story). In the end, the decision was made to go with an image inspired by Wrath’s.

Adriana Li Mandri, multi-media ministries editor, and Cheryl Werner, territorial graphic arts director, executed the artwork and handed it off to Cecil Sellers.

Sellers is a soldier at the Lawrenceville, Georgia, Corps and owner of A Better Sign LLC, a maker of signs and banners. He had the image transferred to 41 aluminum-covered plastic panels, each measuring 4 by 8 feet, that were then attached to the corrugated-steel side of the warehouse.

The mural was to have been unveiled at the Call to Mission: Southern Territorial Congress in June. The COVID-19 pandemic forced postponement of the congress, but the mural project proceeded, and the artwork was installed in early September.

It lists The Salvation Army’s core values: Passionate, Trustworthy, Uplifting, Compassionate and Brave. It displays the word “love” in different languages, reflecting the Army’s outreach to multi-ethnic communities. It depicts a red kettle, a mobile feeding unit (canteen), brass musical instruments and a box of toys.

“Hope, love and grace; a helping hand, a listening ear; soup, soap and salvation; a hopeful tune; the Word of God – these are just some of the messages shared through the mural. Messages of hope, of inspiration, of new beginnings; and of helping hands, a helping Army that is doing the most good,’” Major Westmoreland said.

Lt. Colonel Hobgood said the mural is important because it communicates to people passing by what The Salvation Army is all about. “It gives an opportunity for the community to see that The Salvation Army is here. You see our sign out front, but this mural hopefully will help us tell our story.”

Photos of THQ Mural (seen above) by: Jon Avery, media ministries editor, THQ.

Mural candidates were submitted by:

– Captain Whitney Houston, corps officer, Denton, Texas.

– Major Tim Farrell, administrator, Adult Rehabilitation Center, Tampa, Fla.

– Lieutenant Bailey Partain Lind, Kroc Center Officer for Congregational Life, Memphis Tenn.

– Sharon Robinson, Arkansas-Oklahoma Division.