Dr. Elizabeth Blount is a local veterinarian in Tallahassee as well as a volunteer with TDI, which is a volunteer-based organization that provides therapy

Tallahassee Veterinarian Sharing in Salvation Army’s Ministry of Comfort

Dr. Elizabeth Blount is a local veterinarian in Tallahassee as well as a volunteer with TDI, which is a volunteer-based organization that provides therapy dogs to individuals in vulnerable situations such as disasters, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Emotional and spiritual care is a unique and valued component of The Salvation Army’s emergency response. In times of crisis, The Salvation Army utilizes trained personnel to provide comfort to rescue workers and disaster survivors.

The Salvation Army is partnering with Therapy Dogs International (TDI) to support serving people impacted by Hurricane Michael, including displaced families and first responders from the Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) in Tallahassee.

After receiving an email requesting therapy dogs to support The Salvation Army’s Incident Command service area for Tallahassee, Dr. Blount had a personal incentive to support this emergency response with her therapy dogs, golden retrievers Gabriel and Molly.

Dr. Blount was one of the many individuals who lost her home after Hurricane Irma devastated the Florida Keys last year. The Category 4 hurricane flooded her home with over 3 feet of water, roofs were torn off, and buildings were demolished. While Dr. Blount and her neighbors were outside rummaging through the debris for their personal belongings, a Salvation Army mobile feeding unit made its way through the wreckage.

“The mobile unit came down the street and stopped at every single house, greeted us, handed us a hot meal, and told us they loved us. It was literally enough to make us cry,” said Dr. Blount. “Not only were we desperate for a meal and water but just for somebody to say hey, we care…it made all the difference.”

Solace can come from a hot meal, a hug from a furry friend, or the caring presence of The Salvation Army’s staff and volunteers. As of October 16, The Salvation Army has provided emotional and spiritual care to 7,000 survivors and first responders impacted by Hurricane Michael in Florida.

 

To help support the disaster relief work of The Salvation Army, donations can be made at www.HelpSalvationArmy.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, by texting STORM to 51555, or by check (designated “2018 Hurricane Season – Michael”) mailed to PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301.

Bainbridge is a small town neatly nestled in the southwestern corner of the state of Georgia just over the Alabama and Florida state lines.

The Salvation Army Helps Hispanic Community Seeking Shelter in Bainbridge, GA

Bainbridge is a small town neatly nestled in the southwestern corner of the state of Georgia just over the Alabama and Florida state lines. It was first settled as a small trading post in the late 18th century. Residents are rightly proud of their little corner of Georgia, and will quickly remind you it’s the hometown of Georgia Bulldog Head Coach Kirby Smart.

Life is fairly laid back in Bainbridge. But, that all changed when Michael arrived hurling winds of 120 miles per hour down against the quite little town.

“Bainbridge was never seen anything like this before,” said Maria Diaz, a resident since 1999. “The last time anything close to this happened here was back in 1851.”

Bearing testimony to Maria’s statement, countless 100-year-old-plus live oak trees, that once graced the town, are now strewn across streets and lawns, and lay toppled over homes and businesses.

Many of the largest and most beautiful trees in Bainbridge are now either gone or severely disfigured. Waves and swaths of live oak leaves stripped from their branches by hurricane-force winds still swirl in the narrower back streets, like dark green glitter tinged with a smattering of road dust. Unripen acorns wretched from parental trees easily crunch underfoot at every step.

A few miles south of town, and a stone’s throw from Tallahassee Highway, almost 100 men, women and children huddled together inside the United Methodist Hispanic Hispanic Mission seeking shelter from the rages of Hurricane Michael, not knowing the fate of their clustered trailer-homes just over the tree line. Their fear grew in intensity as the raging storm winds increased and pressed trees down to their breaking point. At the height of the storm, the little group of gathered families huddled together in prayer for thirty minutes in the center of the chapel. At midnight, the power went out.

Local congregation leader, Jamie Gallaga, earlier pleaded with the little Hispanic community to shelter in the church from the storm. Much to Mr. Gallaga’s relief, they listened. Gallaga grew up on the Mexican Gulf Coast and shared his frightening personal experiences of what hurricane force winds could do. Although Gallaga is not an ordained pastor, its not important to the little Hispanic community. He took up care for the little Hispanic flock when the pastor assigned to the church was delayed by governmental red tape over a year ago, and they won’t forget his unfailing love and dedication to them.

“I’m glad they listened,” says Gallaga with tears in his eyes, “I can’t image what I would do if anything happened to one of these little ones,” he adds, as children run laughing, playing and chasing each other around the inside of the chapel.

The women and children stay at the Hispanic Mission Church during the day while the men go back to their devastated neighborhood to do what repairs they can. One man lost his trailer-home where he and his five children were living. He lost his wife a few years ago, and now must maintain his strength for his family to make it through yet another tragedy.

Gallaga’s step-son’s house is destroyed — crushed under numerous fallen trees. And two trees crashed through Gallaga’s home, too. “I’m not going to worry about my home or going back to work until the congregation is taken care of and none of them need to stay here anymore,” says Gallaga resolutely.

Just then, one of the best mobile kitchen units in The Salvation Army Georgia Division 21-canteen fleet from Elberton, GA, slowly navigates the turn into the driveway of the church—within a short time it is set up and ready to serve lunch.

Behind the serving window is 2016 Salvation Army Southern Territory Volunteer of the Year, Joe Johnson, now approaching 30 years of volunteer service. “I love doing this,” Johnson says, as a gaggle of pre-teen girls skip up to the canteen followed closely by their moms and younger siblings. “Hot dogs!” they exclaim excitedly.

“I don’t have words to express how much it means for you to help us like this,” says Gallaga.

“That’s what we do – helping people in their time of need,” says Johnson. “We’re with you, and we won’t leave Bainbridge, or the little Hispanic Mission, either, until all in need are served and safe.”

Michael is an intense category 4 hurricane — the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the Florida panhandle. After slamming ashore,

The Salvation Army of Georgia Readies as Michael Slams Florida Panhandle

Michael is an intense category 4 hurricane — the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the Florida panhandle. After slamming ashore, Michael is expected to continue northeast as a category 2 hurricane, raging through Southern Georgia across Bainbridge, Thomasville and Savannah with weather unlike anything they have seen before.

Salvation Army mobile feeding units (canteens) and other resources from across the southern U.S. are stationed to quickly provide feeding, hydration and emotional and spiritual care throughout impacted areas.

“Hurricane Michael is a powerful storm,” Says Major Charles Powell, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army of Georgia. “We are ready and poised to minister in the name of Jesus to those who are hurting — to be there for them in their time of need. We want to be a ray of light in their time of darkness that brings peace to their minds and hearts.”

In Georgia, twenty-one canteens stand ready to deploy to areas affected in Georgia. A Salvation Army Incident Management Team (IMT) monitors the storm progress and impact from their operations center located in The Salvation Army’s Divisional Headquarters building Atlanta, Georgia. From this location, The Salvation Army of Georgia can coordinate and communicate with Salvation Army locations and resources across the state, and with state and local officials in efforts to respond effectively where resources are needed most. The current focus centers on the 108 counties in South Georgia placed under a state of emergency by Governor Nathan Deal.

“We continue to assess and evaluate the situation,” says Captain Erik Henry, Incident Commander for the Georgia Incident Management Team, “Once we see exactly how the storm impacts our state, we will be able to redeploy our resources as needed to help those in the most severely affected areas.”

The Salvation Army of Georgia is already in action providing drinks and meals in key locations for first responders, evacuees and those seeking help including; Albany, Americus, Augusta, Douglas, Dublin, Macon, Tifton and Thomasville. Many other locations are on standby ready to respond when needed

The best way to help survivors and relief workers is to make a financial contribution. Monetary donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors.

New Bern Corps, North Carolina held worship this morning. The band played ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness

Worship in the midst of a storm

New Bern Corps, North Carolina held worship this morning. The band played ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’, hymns were sung, a message was delivered, scripture was read. The meeting was much like any other Salvation Army meeting in the more than 14,000 Salvation Army worship locations all over the world.

This worship meeting, however, was not like any other. It was held in a donated space hastily set up for the service. White plastic chairs replaced upholstered pews. The backdrop to the pulpit was a curtain of white pipe and drape. Instead of worshipping in the church that stood for generations, 45 people came to an unfamiliar building to praise God.

The worshippers were full of joy and thanksgiving despite the destruction Hurricane Florence brought to the second oldest town in North Carolina.

During and immediately after Hurricane Florence, New Bern saw more than ten feet (over three meters) of storm surge and flooding when the Neuse and Trent rivers rose dramatically in hours. Almost a foot of rain fell in the area, creating even more flooding. More than 450 of the 30,000 residents of New Bern had to be rescued. The Salvation Army corps building in New Bern still stood but took on two-plus feet of water. Much of the building was heavily damaged in the storm, but the three crosses in front of the church stood firm.

‘That building was just brick and mortar. It was just a building. The building is NOT the Army. We are the Army. You are the Army. And we, as the Army, have work to do!’ said corps officer Captain Curtis Kratz, in his sermon.

Since the storm hit New Bern, The Salvation Army has been at work. Feeding people. Giving hope through outdoor meetings. Being a helping hand in a storm-ravaged community. Since before the storm hit, more than 11,000 meals have been served to first responders and people impacted by the storm. More than 360 people have received prayers and words of encouragement from Salvation Army pastors.

In the coming weeks, the shock from the storm will wear off. Families will have to figure out a new plan. And The Salvation Army will be there, working alongside the community to rebuild.

All throughout Carteret County, there are piles on the sides of the roads. Limbs and brush, furniture, mattresses, appliances and more

Cleaning Up Carteret County Begins, One Kit At A Time

All throughout Carteret County, there are piles on the sides of the roads. Limbs and brush, furniture, mattresses, appliances and more – all evidence of a community trying to put the pieces back together.

Now that power has been fully restored, people are returning to their homes to assess the damage and begin the arduous task of cleaning up. Many homes encountered flooding, so everything has been destroyed. People are ripping out carpet, and bleaching away the mold and mildew.

On Tuesday, Salvation Army crews canvassed the county, dropping off cleanup kits with much needed essentials including disinfectant, scrubbing brushes, gloves, towels and other supplies. These 5-gallon buckets are a start for these families facing a long road ahead.

“Our prayer is that these clean up kits are more than just what’s inside,” said Lt. Jeremy Lind. “We hope these are a little glimpse of Jesus.”

Lind, and other Salvation Army disaster workers, spent the morning driving to different Down East communities to check in on the local residents.

In Cedar Island, a community at the far eastern tip of Carteret County, the staff at the fire department was grateful.

“The Salvation Army has been our saving grace,” Fire Chief Rodney Smith said. “They were here from the beginning.” Larry Land, a board member with the local Salvation Army of Carteret County, has been dropping food and checking on this community on a regular basis. Now, the local Cedar Island fire department has turned its attention to take care of others who have been impacted even more.

In Marshallberg, the sign outside of the Marshallberg Fire Department read “Need clean up kits.” So, the Salvation Army’s arrival today was met with applause and pictures. “This is all we needed!” one local resident remarked.

In Otway, Marie and David were just returning from Florida. They evacuated and escaped the storm but their home certainly didn’t. Clean up kits and a tarp were all they needed.

“We just got back and don’t know where to start,” Marie said. “This is a huge help.” They took four buckets for their home and their neighbors.

In Harkers Island, The Salvation Army has had a constant presence, feeding and providing supplies and support. This morning, one resident summed up the experience: “What a blessing The Salvation Army has been to this community.”

In the small community of North River, residents are still picking up the pieces. “This was a bad one here. People underestimate it, but water is devastating,” Alton Davis, chief at the North River Fire Department said.

Davis himself saw extensive damage at his own home. Yet, he was thrilled to receive clean up kits. At the station this evening, Davis is hosting dinner and a supply pickup. Residents will be able to come by and receive clothing and cleaning supplies.

“Thank you for everything y’all have done,” Davis said. But, the community fire department has done just as much for its community. And, that has been the case at each of the small communities throughout Carteret County.

A message written on the side of a discarded refrigerator on Highway 70 said, ”Thank all of y’all.” In this case, it includes The Salvation Army, the utility workers from all over the country, and the neighbors who have been looking out for each other.

Hurricane Florence tracks closer to North and South Carolina, The Salvation Army is preparing to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual care

Hurricane Florence tracks closer to North and South Carolina

As Hurricane Florence tracks closer to North and South Carolina, The Salvation Army is preparing to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual care to individuals and families impacted by the storm and first responders.

Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Overview – North and South Carolina

  • At the logistical staging location in Charlotte, North Carolina, twenty-five mobile feeding units and teams from the Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi (ALM) Division, Florida Division, and Georgia Division are prepared to deploy as soon as storm conditions allow.
  • The mobile feeding units were joined in Charlotte by twenty-five Emotional and Spiritual Care specialists who will provide comfort and hope to survivors, first responders, and volunteers who are helping with the disaster.
  • In the short-term aftermath of the storm, Salvation Army officers, staff, and volunteers will focus primarily on the immediate needs, providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to impacted individuals, families, and first responders.
  • Through coordination with local emergency management and disaster service partners, Salvation Army units across the Carolina are providing meals to evacuation shelters and emergency operations centers ahead of Hurricane Florence.
  • The Salvation Army is coordinating with numerous county emergency operations centers and serving in state emergency operations centers in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Salvation Army mobile feeding units have deployed to assigned service areas.

  • A mobile feeding unit from Clearwater, FL has been deployed to Kinston, NC and is on standby to provide support in the area.
  • Charlotte, NC mobile feeding unit and team deployed to provide support in Horry County/Conway, SC alongside the Conway mobile feeding unit.
  • Hickory, NC deployed to provide support in Washington, NC alongside the Washington mobile feeding unit.
  • Greensboro, NC deployed to provide support Elizabeth City, NC alongside the Elizabeth City mobile feeding unit.
  • Greenville, SC, and Anderson, SC deployed to provide support in Charleston, SC alongside the Charleston mobile feeding unit.
  • The Salvation Army in Charleston is serving in partnership with the South Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief. This collaboration has fed many thousands over its multi-decade partnership. The Baptist Disaster Relief cooks the hot meals and The Salvation Army mobile feeding units provide the meals where needed.

Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Overview – Georgia 

  • A Georgia Incident Management Team, led by Disaster Services Director Lanita Lloyd, has been identified and is prepared to respond. This leadership team will coordinate the response in Georgia.
  • Additional Georgia mobile feeding units are now being prepared for activation along with teams to be deployed in the areas of need in Georgia.

Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Overview – National Capital and Virginia 

  • Three Incident Command Posts have been created and are ready to mobilize and serve.
  • Seven mobile feeding units from Kentucky-Tennessee Division are now stationed in Roanoke.
  • The Salvation Army is prepared to serve.

About The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services

  • We have served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900.
  • The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to support those affected by Hurricane Florence. Our national network of trained disaster staff and volunteers will be deployed to several locations, prepared to provide food, hydration, clean-up kits, hygiene supplies, and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors.
  • In times of disaster, we serve the whole person – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • After immediate needs are met, The Salvation Army will remain and continue to partner with impacted communities to rebuild. Rebuilding communities takes time and partnership, and we will be there as long as it takes.
  • We are there before, during, and after the storm

You can support the ongoing relief work of The Salvation Army by making a financial donation at to www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, text STORM to 51555.

Florence

National Capital & Virginia Division Readies Response to Hurricane Florence

The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division is closely monitoring weather conditions as Hurricane Florence continues its path in the Atlantic Ocean. Most recent reports indicate that the Hurricane may make landfall to near Category 5 strength Thursday night along the North Carolina coast. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued yesterday for coastal areas of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

“Together with our emergency response team in the Carolinas and our national disaster teams, we are closely monitoring the storm. We are ready to respond locally in coastal areas and beyond, where heavy rainfall and potential flooding may impact wide areas in Virginia,” said Major Chris Flanagan for The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division. “We pray that the impact will be light, but we are ready to provide relief to those affected by the storm and support our emergency management partners.”

The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to support those affected by Hurricane Florence, with trained disaster staff and volunteers and specialized equipment deploying to several locations. As in past disasters, The Salvation Army coordinates with community agencies and emergency management officials to provide food, hydration, clean-up kits, hygiene supplies, and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors. The Salvation Army National Capital and Virginia Division has 8-10 mobile feeding units ready for disaster response throughout Virginia. Most of those units are on the road today and tomorrow, establishing staging areas in locations believed to be most impacted in the arrival and aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

Trained Emergency Disaster volunteers and corporate partners played a key part in the massive response efforts of The Salvation Army after Hurricane Harvey.

The Salvation Army Pays Tribute to Harvey Volunteers and Corporate Partners

Trained Emergency Disaster volunteers and corporate partners played a key part in the massive response efforts of The Salvation Army after Hurricane Harvey. At the peak of service, hundreds of Salvation Army staff and volunteers tirelessly prepared and served meals each day from more than 100 mobile kitchens active in affected communities along the Texas coastline. For many survivors and response teams, the hot food and snacks provided by The Salvation Army’s committed volunteers were the only meals they could count on each day for several weeks.

“We left Austin on Saturday, August 25, right after the storm made landfall and spent the first few days serving meals in Victoria and Seadrift, before moving to La Grange,” said Bruce Peterson, a longtime EDS volunteer from Williamson County. “Victoria was devastated. There was no power at all. All six of our team were able to stay with a friend of mine just outside the city. Incredibly, her house was the only one in the entire neighborhood that had power. We were able to cook 150 breakfast tacos in the morning and delivered breakfast to the entire street,” said Bruce.

Bruce and the EDS volunteer teams from Williamson County were deployed for four weeks. “We typically are out there for 14 days at a time and then our second team will rotate in,” said Bruce. “I got home after about a month and then got a call asking me to help set up a Salvation Army warehouse in Houston. I ended up being gone another 17 days.”

Bruce’s dedication is typical of The Salvation Army trained disaster volunteers who are crucial to the success of our emergency relief efforts. The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) operates a robust and comprehensive volunteer training program. Trained and certified Salvation Army volunteers are the first to be deployed during times of disaster. Available courses include classes in incident management, mobile kitchen operations, food service, emotional and spiritual care and basic first aid and CPR training, among others.

Another volunteer team, all members of The Salvation Army Women’s Service League in Granbury, served in Victoria for a month. “I was part of the second team deployed. By the time I arrived in Victoria, the power was back on and people were beginning to start recovery efforts,” said Linda Dowell, EDS volunteer. “Our team was a praying team. We would pray in the truck that God would guide us, pray as we prepared the food, and were always ready to pray with those who came to us for help. We would deliver food, speak with the survivors for a few moments and then our Emotional and Spiritual Care team would meet with the families,” said Linda. “It was a beautiful thing.”

Beyond the delivery of meals, Emotional and Spiritual Care is a unique aspect of The Salvation Army EDS. Motivated by Christian faith, The Salvation Army deploys specially trained individuals, often ordained Salvation Army Officers (pastors), to offer emotional and spiritual care to rescue workers and disaster survivors.

“Our emergency disaster services volunteers are among some of the most hardworking and committed people I have ever served with,” said Alvin Migues, EDS Director for The Salvation Army in Texas. “This was never more evident than during Hurricane Harvey response. Our registered volunteers know that there is a good chance they’ll be deployed to support relief efforts and, true to form, our people were prepared, available and ready to answer the call when we needed them. The Salvation Army simply couldn’t have responded on the scale that we did, and help so many people, without our volunteers.”

Corporate partnerships also are important to the success of The Salvation Army disaster response efforts. With established long-term relationships with many community-minded businesses, The Salvation Army can count on these partners to step up and support our work in times of disaster.

“The Salvation Army is grateful for our corporate partners who come alongside us in times of need. Whether it be through financial support, gifts in-kind, or perhaps donation of infrastructure and volunteers, they make it possible for us to respond effectively and efficiently on a large scale,” said Migues. “Even today, ongoing partnerships with JCPenney, Ashley Furniture, Good360, Rooms To Go, Mattress Firm and many others are making it possible for The Salvation Army to deliver very practical help to individuals and families still working to put their homes and lives back together.”

To support the ongoing work of The Salvation Army in Hurricane Harvey recovery or for more information go to www.salvationarmytexas.org/harvey/  

Maj. Tim Grider was in the middle of leading a Salvation Army building campaign in St. Angelo, Texas, when he got the call from the higher ups asking him to take over the chapter in Fayetteville.

New leader of Salvation Army chapter has ambitious plans for Fayetteville

Maj. Tim Grider was in the middle of leading a Salvation Army building campaign in St. Angelo, Texas, when he got the call from the higher ups asking him to take over the chapter in Fayetteville.

He said he was surprised, but pleased to come back to a state that he considers home.

Grider — who has led Salvation Army chapters since 1990 in Florida, Alabama and now North Carolina — has taken over the helm of the Sandhills Chapter of the Salvation Army, which includes Cumberland, Hoke, Moore, Robeson and Scotland counties.

He moved here with his wife, Cheryl, who is also a Salvation Army officer. They have been working in Texas for the last 12 years.

“I’m a Carolinian. Born and raised in the Carolinas,” he said. “My wife and I are thrilled to be home. Texas was fun, interesting, great. We saw Western America. We would have never been able to see that, our kids as well. But we are thrilled to be back in the Carolinas.”

The Griders are replacing Matt and Christina Trantham, who have been transferred to Maryland.

The Griders are both children of Salvation Army officers. Tim Grider is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with degree in business management and accounting. Cheryl Grider was born in Winter Haven, Florida, and is a graduate of Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, with a degree in music.

Together they were commissioned and ordained from The Salvation Army’s College for Officers Training in Atlanta. They have three children — Nate, Kevin and Chloe. Chloe is a freshman at Cape Fear High School; Nate and Kevin serve in the military.

Tim Grider has laid out a methodical plan to evaluate every aspect of the Salvation Army’s operations in the Sandhills.

The first step is to develop a strategic program and business plan for the local chapter, which he calls STRAT. He said it will evaluate every facet of the Salvation Army’s operations, including whether buildings should be rented or purchased, whether programs should be scaled back or expanded and whether new programs should be adopted.

“The strategic plan vets every detail and facet (of the organization), from staff to property to budgets,” he said. “There are many other things that we would normally do that we’re not doing here. There are some other things we are doing but we need to kind of update the methodology of it to today’s standards and technology. We have a few computers that need to be upgraded. We need buildings. We need property. We need land. That is our number one priority.”

The Salvation Army operates a thrift store at 433 Robeson St., a social services office at 310 Dick St. and a community center at 220 Russell St. He said there could be a need for another thrift store in Fayetteville, as well as a new one in Lumberton. He said the evaluation will look at the need to possibly add services, such as a senior housing program.

He said the community center is bursting at the seams and doesn’t have enough space.

“We do not have enough offices for the administration,” he said. “We’re taking over classrooms that we need for a community center, which by the way is our summer day camp and our after-school program and our seniors program on top of our church.”

Grider said the Salvation Army board will be active in the organizational review process, which also includes a “mission planning study.”

“We’ll do probably 250 to 300 interviews with people in the five-county area. We’ll have all the statistical and data analysis done,” he said. “It is the research component that says, ‘Yes, you do need this program. No, this program is covered by X,Y and Z agency. You don’t need to continue doing that.’”

Grider said it will take at least six months for the STRAT study to be completed.

“It’s going to take a while,” he said.

Salvation Army Launches in Samoa

Salvation Army officially launches in Samoa

The church and humanitarian organization Salvation Army is now in Samoa.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and other guests attended its commissioning at the Samoa Tourism Authority Fale on Saturday.

Describing the arrival of the church and humanitarian organization in Samoa as another opportunity to spread the Gospel and do its humanitarian work, the Prime Minister said he welcomed their arrival.

“I am informed that Samoa is the 130th country in the world where the Salvation Army operates. It would not have been possible without the Church’s farsighted vision to establish in Samoa, and the hard work done by Rod and Jenny, your missionaries for Christ and all those involved from the outset of the planning and negotiations,” he said.

“Caring for people, transforming lives and reforming society constitute the mission of the Salvation Army, and you have been offering assistance in those key areas since 1865. Alcohol and drugs are challenges of this age and time. I am very happy to see that the Salvation Army will be offering assistance for a credible and professional alcohol and drug treatment program, in partnership with Government Ministries, civil society, and non-government organizations.”

Salvation Army’s rehabilitation services targeting alcohol and drug addiction were highlighted as the type of services that would compliment the efforts of the Government.

“Government welcomes this assistance to coincide with its programmes to bring the victims of alcohol and drugs out of addiction, and to equip them to become responsible citizens of this country. More importantly is to bring their lives to the Lord,” said the Prime Minister.

Commissioner Andrew Westrupp, representing the Salvation Army, said Samoa follows in the footsteps of New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji to welcome them.

“We have had a long extending invitation by the Samoan government to be here. I want to thank the Prime Minister of Samoa and all our fellow churches for your warm welcome and as the scriptures said ‘unusual kindness and liberal assistance’ we promise that we will return your good will with staying true to our mission, preparing people, transforming lives, with God’s help,” he said.