Salvation Army honors volunteers, supporters

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

While in the middle of a disaster relief operation, the Salvation Army showed its appreciation Tuesday to its volunteers and supporters.

The “Doing the Most Good” Annual Luncheon was held at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center, honoring the 1,597 volunteers who gave 8,443 hours of their time during the 2005-2006 year.

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“We’re celebrating God’s work in 2006,” said Capt. Don New, who thanked his employees as well, calling them the “backbone of the organization.

Probate Judge Kim Ballard said he was “proud of the work” accomplished in Wilcox County, in the wake of the March 1 tornado that killed one man and destroyed 50 homes. The storm also struck the Five Points area near Orrville, destroying two homes there.

While disaster relief is among the services provided by the organization, the Salvation Army handles individual needs and crisis on a daily basis.

The Salvation Army, which has been in the Black Belt since 1887, covers a six-county service area. During the past Christmas season, a total of 220 families and 1,300 people received assistance, according to the organization’s annual report.

The 2006 Bell Ringer Awards were given to the Pride of Alabama Elks Lodge, the Lions Club and Pilot Club. Volunteers from these organizations raised the most funds during the Christmas campaign.

Other organizations that volunteered as Bell Ringers included Fairhaven Baptist Church, AARP, Orrville Baptist Church, Selma Civitan Club, Living Waters, the Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Selma Exchange Club, Alabama Avenue COGIC, Cub Scouts Pack 30 and the Valley Grande Exchange Club.

Also recognized was Paul Alexander of WALX Laser 101, who joined efforts with WAKA Channel 8 to host a telethon. The event raised more than $3,000 for the tornado relief effort, New said.

Austin Williams, a 10-year-old volunteer who spent three days helping at the disaster site, received a plaque for his efforts.

Guest speaker, Major John R. Jones, divisional commander for Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, talked briefly about the values of the Salvation Army.

He said the organization was integrity-minded. “The public has to know we can do what we say we will do,” he said.

The Salvation Army is also people-oriented, Jones said.

“It has to be about helping people,” he said. “Success is having an impact on people’s lives.”