Angel behind the 'Angel Tree'

Angel behind the ‘Angel Tree’

WAYNESBORO – Her parents are involved in the Salvation Army, and so was the generation before them.

Helping people and spreading the Christian message of the group comes naturally to Capt. Elyshia Perdieu, although within the Waynesboro corps leadership she is the shy, behind-the-scenes person.

Her husband, Jason, is the other captain, and the one becoming known for outreach like the ambitious marathon bell-ringing sessions outside Walmart.

But it’s “Captain Elyshia” who is one of The News Leader’s chosen 2017 “Newsmakers,” for the outreach she does in the community and the connections she has been building during the five years the couple has lived here.

“I’m the quiet one,” she said.

For “Newsmakers,” each year our newsroom selects members of the community to feature who may not be in the public eye — but are part of the key pool of citizens moving forward the projects and topics our area cares about.

In the Christmas toy drive this year, more than 180 families and 350 children were served through her group’s efforts and partnerships with other local associations such as the Rotary. Kmart and Kate Collins Middle School were two of the places for Angel Trees, where members of the public could take a case with a child’s name and wish list written on a paper ornament tag.

About a fourth of the clients this year for Angel Tree gift and clothing assistance were new, said Perdieu and volunteer Carol “Christmas Carol” Johnson.

The group also provides senior food boxes during the holidays for the elderly, and energy assistance programs during the winter in cooperation with Dominion.

This Waynesboro Salvation Army leader is a News Leader Newsmaker for 2017. William Ramsey/The News Leader

“Need has no season,” Perdieu said. “You might be in a loan office or you might be in Kmart or Kroger, and that person helping you is a person that is in need. A lot of people are living paycheck-to-paycheck right now. And if we didn’t have this program going, some of our families might not have a Christmas.”

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