El Centro loses staunch supporter

John Ryerson, 80, died on May 3, 2009, having served on The Salvation Army El Centro, Calif., Advisory Board for more than 20 years.

Ryerson was born July 29, 1928 in San Diego, Calif., and married Virginia (Ginger) in 1955. A veteran of the Korean War, he belonged to many organizations including El Centro Chamber of Commerce as president.

El Centro Corps Officer Captain Jerry Esqueda says that Ryerson was an inspiration, an advisor, and an encourager.

“He was our eyes in the Valley, “said Esqueda. “He would see things that needed to be done to help people who were hurting and find ways to support The Salvation Army in meeting those needs.”

Instrumental in the expansion of the Valley’s Salvation Army thrift stores to Calexico and Brawley, Ryerson even purchased a new truck to help increase donations. The Army is about to purchase a passenger van because of John’s generosity. Especially supportive of the men’s shelter, he cared deeply about people who had no place to go or no food to eat. He wanted to be a helping hand reaching down to the less fortunate in the Valley he loved.

“He was more than a close friend,” added Esqueda, “he was a brother in the Lord. His love of God was evident in how he lived his life, how he loved his family, his church and his community, and how he helped others through The Salvation Army.”

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