5th Annual SAWROA retreat held

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Western retired officers meet at Camp Mt. Crags.

by Marilyn Gregory, Major –

2008-2009 SAWROA board members (l-r): Major Frank Brown, Treasurer; Major Carol Yardley, 2nd Vice President; Lt. Colonel Alfred Van Cleef, Vice President; Major Ken Gibson, President; Major Carol Pontsler, Past President; and Major Melba Gilden, Secretary.

Eighty-three retired officers, ranging in age from almost 65 to 87 plus, from all over the Western Territory, gathered for three days of blessing at Camp Mt. Crags, under the theme In His Time.

Special guests were Lt. Colonels Peter and Sylvia Dalziel, who recently retired from leadership positions in The Netherlands and now make their home in Spalding, Lincolnshire, England. Their musical and artistic talents were evident as they shared from God’s Word in a series of three Bible studies—Time for Spiritual Check-Up (John 17:15), Time to Deal with Anxiety (Proverbs 3:26) and Time to Understand Who I am (Philippians 4:13)—as well as the Sunday morning message, There is a Time for Everything, based on the words of Ecclesiastes 3, and bringing out these points: Time is given us as a Test; Time is given us as a Trust; and Time is given us as a Tryst.

A highlight of the retreat was the visit of the Territorial Staff Songsters (TSS). Despite a full weekend of appearances, the TSS presented a 30-minute program under the direction of Territorial Music Director Neil Smith. The concert began with the words of comfort in “His Strength Is Perfect”—a truth every retired officer has experienced—and concluded with a lively rendition of “Melody In My Heart.”

Three dynamic evening programs led by Majors Ken Gibson, Oliver Stenvick and Lt. Colonel Al Van Cleef used the talents of many SAW ROA members, including the band (Major Fred Seiler) and songsters (Lt. Col. George Church).

Six sets of siblings attended the retreat this year: Lt. Col. Donna Wiseman and Major William Mulch; Commissioner Rob Saunders and Major Neil Saunders; Commissioner Carol Saunders and Lt. Colonel Sherryl Van Cleef; Major Marilyn Gregory and Major Ron Bawden; Major Dale Hill and Major Jerry Hill; Major Joy Brown and Major Carol Pontsler.

Next year’s SAW ROA will take place April 30 – May 3, 2009, with Colonels John and Valda Bate scheduled as guest leaders.

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