DFS does more than balance the books


MAJORS PRESTON and Bonita Rider on their way home to Denver, Colo. after leading a youth in Sheridan, Wyo.


The telephone was ringing off the hook at The Salvation Army’s administrative offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. “It’s for Major Rider,” exclaims the receptionist. As Rider heads for the phone, his associates continue their business of auditing the financial records of the corps and adult rehabilitation program.

Major Preston Rider is the Intermountain divisional financial secretary, responsible for overseeing the Army’s financial matters in four states. After working all day Saturday in his Denver, Colo., office, Rider left home on Sunday and drove his Dodge Stratus more than 500 miles to Salt Lake City. With a shortened night’s sleep he joined the three auditors from territorial headquarters in the tedious task of reviewing a year’s worth of Army business activity.

For the next several days Rider juggles his priorities to finish the audit in Salt Lake City, manage his endless responsibilities at divisional headquarters remotely, and preserve his family leadership role while away from home. The phone calls are a constant reminder of the demands on him and other officers appointed to divisional headquarters.

This week’s plans include a bonus: Major Bonita Rider will fly over to Salt Lake City on Thursday so the couple can drive together to Billings, Mont. They had agreed to lead a joint youth rally on Saturday for the northern corps of Sheridan, Wyo., along with Butte, Bozeman, and Billings, Mont. “We don’t mind at all when we’re asked to take additional leadership roles,” say Preston and Bonita. “It’s kind of fun and it keeps us in touch with the Army’s ministry.”

The phone in Billings is already ringing late Friday when the Riders finish their 500-mile journey from Salt Lake City. It is their teenage son calling for some important advice; his car broke down. Preston consoles his son, “We’ll be home late Sunday night, so we can talk about it then.” With a new family concern safely on hold, the Riders work with the Billings corps officers to set up for the Saturday morning event.

On Saturday a few dozen children and their leaders enjoy the program of singing and badge work prepared by the Riders. For most of the kids the adventure of taking a trip is enough to keep their interest. But on this day they would sing energetic songs, hear dynamic Bible stories, and share Christian fellowship with other Army kids from all over. Thanks to the help of all the leaders the Riders can report a successful rally in Billings.

Preston and Bonita do not end their week-long trek quite yet. They participate in Sunday services at the Billings Corps. Bonita presents her testimony and sings a solo. Preston delivers the morning sermon. After greeting the congregation the Riders are anxious to hit the road again for the last 550 miles that lead them back home to Denver.

It may be a long road, but it is a satisfying journey.

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