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.