An Open Letter to Lt. Colonels Chris and Janice Buchanan

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LOMA PRIETA EARTHQUAKE–(l-r) In 1989, (then) Major Chris Buchanan, San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan, (then) Captain Larry Shiroma.



Dear Chris and Jani,

There was a lot of hoopla recently in San Francisco about the 10th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Pasadena Tabernacle Band came up for a one-day concert in the Marina District. Even our current Lord Mayor was there. Funny, though, I don’t recall seeing either of them 10 years ago when the quake hit. But, you were there in San Francisco in October of 1989.

As the General Secretary for the old Northern California & Nevada Division, your responsibility included coordinating the relief work of the Army. I walked into the command center one day where your office was located, and saw you immersed in a sea of notes and emergency supplies. It was overwhelming at the time, but you kept at it, working day and night.

Remember the first night after the earthquake? You and Jani came over to the Harbor Light to meet with us and our residents. There was no power, so we literally had a candlelight service in our little chapel. There was the wail of a siren as an ambulance tore down Harrison Street heading towards San Francisco General. Our residents were anxious. Many of them had no idea how their families were coping. The phone lines were down, and cell phones were a rarity in those days. As we gathered together in the darkness, the light from the candles gave us warmth and assurance. You spoke about keeping our hopes up and that things would eventually work out…that all we had to do was to be patient and keep the faith.

Three years later, in October 1992, you and Jani came over to the Harbor Light to conduct another service in our chapel. This time it was to help us officially open our Lighthouse Recovery Corps. You mentioned that we were the first recovery corps in the Western Territory, certainly the first with the name Lighthouse. Being a collector of Army memorabilia, you gave me a copy of an old War Cry article dated 1899, describing perhaps the very first Lighthouse Corps, in Leeds, England.

In November 1999 we will be dedicating our new Lighthouse Chapel. Wish you folks could join us, just as you did in 1989 and ’92. Seems like you’ve been a part of our lives during times of darkness as well as during times of celebration. But even if you are not able to come to our chapel dedication, you will want to know, Chris and Jani, that we will keep a candle lighted for you. And you will want to know that we love you and that things will eventually work out.

All you have to do is to be patient, and keep the faith.

Yours always in Christ,
Larry and Vickie Shiroma

Bramwell Booth–Companion of Honour

Bramwell Booth–Companion of Honour

Conclusion of a two-part article

Frontlines — News Briefs of the West

Frontlines — News Briefs of the West

by Captain Robert L

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