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El Paso, Tucson Corps Now Own Arizona Ghost Town

By Cindy Graff Cohen – 

The El Paso Salvation Army has just received what may be the largest donation in its 100-year history: title to half of Sasco, an Arizona ghost town. The other half went to The Salvation Army in Tucson, Ariz. The town’s combined value is estimated at $1.2 to $1.5 million.

Until this year, Sasco was owned by a wealthy individual who had homes and business interests in both El Paso and Tucson.

In November, he heard a Salvation Army planned-giving presentation in El Paso. Inspired, he chose to make an anonymous gift of the property to the two local areas.

“I can’t tell you how much this means to The Salvation Army,” Southwest Division Planned Giving Director Greg Bodine says. “This is the largest outright gift we’ve seen in this region in the seven years I’ve been here.”

Before Arizona was a state, Sasco was a boom copper mining town, with 600 inhabitants in 1907-1910.

After selling the land, the two operations will split the revenue. In El Paso, the funds will go toward the Army’s $1.9 million operating budget.

Captain Michael Olsen, city coordinator, says “There are many demands on our resources…We will use the proceeds to help pay the bills on our social services center on Paisano and our other three residential facilities.” He added, “We will also use the funds to help support our soup kitchen, emergency food boxes and a variety of other social services and youth programs…It will make a huge difference here.”

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