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The measure of a man


Captain Kris Potter, Roseville, Calif. corps officer, pays tribute to an exceptional man.

What is the measure of a man—assets, fame, notoriety, position?

Perhaps it is something simpler. Measuring a life could be summed up with one word—Others.

How did you treat the insignificant person? Did you show the wealthy, the pretty, the important greater respect than you did the average person, or the down-and-out fellow? How about the drunkard who keeps coming to your doorstep at all hours seeking a morsel of bread?

“Others” explains how a special man, Albert Fierro of the Roseville Corps, lived his life—from his youth to his last days, making sacrifices for others.

For his grandmother, he dropped out of high school in Phoenix and picked onions. Some time later, he felt directed to be with his aunt, who lived alone in Roseville. After that, during 25 years in Los Angeles, he brought an alcoholic into his home and ministered to him. Finally, returning to Roseville 17 years ago, his concern for others brought Albert to The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army was his church, but it was also the place where his giving could be multiplied. In Roseville, when you think of The Salvation Army, you think “Albert.”

He served as the receptionist in the office, handing out bread and food boxes and taking applications for needy families. On Fridays, he took the helm in the kitchen, serving delicious food and the hottest salsa imaginable. He lovingly prepared thousands of meals every year—mostly for the homeless, the lost traveler, and lately to countless homeless teens.

Albert served not only with his hands but, more importantly, from his heart. He lived out the Army’s essence—Others. Four words from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, define Albert—“It’s not about you!”

On his life’s journey Albert never acquired wealth, fame or position. But he was always concerned about the children, the kitchen, family near and far; always cutting out construction paper for his Sunday school lessons or putting a menu together for the next meal, or even taking leftovers to the park for those too drunk to make it to the Army.

That was the man, Albert Fierro.

Albert went to be with Jesus recently. With family, friends, a homeless man and five weeping teenagers at his side the night before, Albert’s life was defined right then and there. He loved everybody—and they loved him.

How is the measure of a man determined? Look at Albert and begin there…

Then the King will say, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40, The Message)

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