Crestmont buildings renamed

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Administration building dedicated in honor of Commissioners Lawrence and Wilma Smith.

by Jennifer Perine, Captain –

Commissioner Wilma Smith speaks at the dedication of the Lawrence and Wilma Smith Administration Building at Crestmont. [Photo by Ken Perrine]

On November 1, 2009, Territorial Commander Commissioner Philip Swyers officiated at a ceremony renaming the administrative building on the College for Officer Training campus for Commissioners Lawrence and Wilma Smith, the first western-trained officers to become territorial leaders of the Western Territory. Commissioner Wilma Smith was in attendance for the ceremony.

Since the Army’s arrival in Rancho Palos Verdes in 1974 the buildings on campus have been largely referred to by letter names. In 1980 “D Building” was renamed the “Richard E. Holz Conference Center,” and earlier this year “E Building” opened a new wing and was renamed “Siemon Hall.” Now “C Building” has joined them as the “Lawrence and Wilma Smith Administration Building.”

Commissioners Lawrence and Wilma Smith served as territorial leaders of the Western Territory from 1980 to1982. The Smiths served with distinction in field and headquarters appointments throughout the territory including a five-year appointment in Hawaii before and during World War II. Outside of the territory they served in London at the International Headquarters and were the territorial leaders for the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory.

The Smiths retired from active service in 1982, but will be long remembered as compassionate Salvation Army leaders who loved God and loved people.

Commissioner Wilma Smith addressed those present on the Sunday afternoon and told of her surprise when Swyers informed her of the decision to rename the building. She added, “I know that the love of my life and my life’s partner would be amazed.” Commissioner Lawrence Smith was promoted to Glory on March 2, 2009.

Smith thanked those present, including those from the Mindeman Residence in Redondo Beach, Calif., where she resides, cadets, officers, friends, and family members. She closed her remarks saying, “I can stand before you today and say God is good, and he’s good all the time.”

At Swyers’ request, the remainder of the buildings on campus will be renamed during the 2010 Commissioning events.

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