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Bethel continues service through volunteering for Salvation Army

By Oniska Blevins | The Selma Times-Journal

Whether it was through serving her country in the United States Navy, being a licensed practical nurse for 19 years or volunteering at the Salvation Army Family Store, service has always been at the forefront of Brenda Bethel’s life.

Bethel, a dog lover and self-proclaimed history buff, starts every morning with a walk in her neighborhood with her four dogs. After her morning stroll, she then gets ready to start her shift volunteering at the store.

During her time in the Navy, Bethel was injured on a ship, and as a result, she had to leave the military. However, she does not allow her disability to stop her from continuing to serve.

Her experience as a veteran often helps her to connect with customers that are fellow veterans.

“If I can’t give them clothes or help them get food, I give them advice sometimes,” she said.

It makes her happy to help them find the resources they need while also being a willing listener.

Monique Brech, director of the Salvation Army, said volunteerism makes a difference and often times the organization’s success is dependent upon the people that volunteer.

“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our volunteers,” she said.

Brech said aside from her hard work, Bethel’s funny personality and genuine care for other employees makes her an asset to the team and they would not know what to do without her.

“She is invaluable,” she said. “She’s always here. We can always count on her.”

Bethel is responsible for sorting clothing, assisting donors and everyday housekeeping duties for the store.

“She will do anything that needs to be done just to help out,” Brech said.

Brech said volunteers provide the much-needed assistance an organization needs so they are able to help others.

“Volunteers help us help the community better,” she said. “It gives us more hands to help.”

Bethel said volunteering has taught her that even when she is having a bad day, there is always something to smile about.

“I learned that I’m the type of person that never gives up, and I always have a happy smile on my face even though sometimes I feel bad,” Bethel said.

For more information on the local Salvation Army’s efforts or information on how to become a volunteer, visit www.salvationarmyalm.org/selma/services or call (334) 872-1646.