A view from the board side_ God loves a cheerful giver

By Dick Hagerty, Advisory board member

New Frontier recently reported the magnificent and generous gift that the Cathedral City Corps received to jumpstart its capital campaign to construct a new youth center.

The donors, Bay Area residents Dick and Beverly Davis, had made a similar contribution to the original construction of the existing corps center in 2005. Dick Davis is a member of the National Advisory Board (NAB) and we have served together for many years. We consider them some of our very best friends and encouragers on the NAB. In his business life, he was a successful land developer and also a minority owner of the Oakland Raiders football team.

The Davises continued generosity should act as an encouragement to all advisory board and council members. Truly, they possess the “gift of giving” and I salute them for this awesome gift.

Jesus taught in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 that giving and service should be measured “by each, according to his ability.” I am reminded of that verse as I measure the great size of these gifts to those which we of lesser means may give.

And, I am reminded of a very personal parallel story to the Davis’s gift.

Twenty years ago there was no established Salvation Army work in the Greater Palm Springs area. This large region received support out of Los Angeles by service extension.

During those years my parents, Richard and Bernice Hagerty, spent their winters in a mobile home park, close to the location of the present corps facility. Through my membership on the NAB, my parents came to know the then Southern California divisional commander, Lt. Col. Eugene Rice, and a warm friendship developed.

My dad—much like the persistent widow of Luke 18—began to regularly remind the colonel: “The valley needs a corps!” Every time I encountered  Colonel Gene he would smile and tell me of my father’s consistent entreaties. One day I received a surprise phone call from him: “Your father has worn me down. We will establish a full corps in Cathedral City.”

My parents were ecstatic and immediately began volunteering to run errands, make deliveries, and attend the corps on Sundays. Led by retired officer Major Oscar Youngquist, the corps was administered out of a small and dusty storefront on Ramon Road. My father was a great gospel music man; my mom played the piano. On the first Sunday about eight people showed up for service. No piano, no instruments—but a beginning.

The next week my parents went out, located a small upright piano, bought it and delivered it for the second Sunday service. For the next two years they continued to support the corps by leading music, teaching classes and making daily runs to the food bank and the local bakeries.

I think the wonderful point of this story is simply this: God does not measure by our standards, nor does he keep score.

Cathedral City and the Palm Springs Valley now have a vibrant corps, led by my good friend Lt. Sean Kelsey. They have an active and engaged advisory board, led by Lothar Vasholz, and our Salvation Army is making a great impact in the area.

All thanks to the vision of Lt. Colonel Rice, the awesome generosity of Dick and Beverly Davis, and the determination and hard work of my late parents, Richard and Bernice Hagerty.

And that is what community involvement is all about. These are the examples of teamwork that make our Army the great success and witness that it has become.

Contact Dick at

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