Auburn canteen to the rescue

Volunteers serve first responders during hostage standoff.

by Stefani Vrapi –

The Auburn canteen serves first responders.

The Auburn, Calif., corps’ newly refurbished canteen recently deployed to a hostage situation. When the call came in, Major Edward Loomis, corps officer, was conducting a Bible study class—including six members of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team.

“The timing could not have been better,” said Loomis. “Six EDS team members attend on a regular basis; three agreed to accompany me to the callout. We were lucky to have a makeshift EDS team already in place at the corps.”

Loomis and his three volunteers—Richard Means, Robert Fish and Jeff Holzman—inspected the canteen and collected the necessary beverages and snacks.

When the team arrived on the scene, they received access to the frontlines. They parked the canteen at the command post and within minutes coffee was brewing and beef stew was simmering on the stove.

After approximately two hours, law enforcement was able to negotiate the release of the hostage and to convince the male subject to turn himself in without incident. Throughout the standoff, The Salvation Army provided comfort in an uncomfortable situation. The team served approximately 60 cups of coffee, 15 cups of hot chocolate, 30 cold drinks, 40 health food bars and 30 bowls of beef stew.

“While my team and I were certainly saddened by the reason for the callout—as hostage situations are always sad and potentially highly dangerous for first responders as well as the hostage—we are nevertheless always grateful for the opportunity to serve the first responders when, and if, these situations arise,” Loomis said. “We are also very grateful for the lessons learned during the maiden voyage of our canteen.”

Richard Ward—an Auburn California Highway Patrol officer and corps advisory board member—noted: “All too often, diligent work and extra efforts of others are overlooked. Thank you for having such an enthusiastic and hard-working staff. We are truly blessed to have The Salvation Army and its wonderful folks. Thank you for a job well done.”

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