Frontlines — News Briefs of the West

Bob Bearchell

By Bob Bearchell – 

As heavy rains continue to pelt coastal California with winds up to 70 mph, Salvation Army units rise to meet the ever-increasing needs of flood victims and homeless people driven indoors. In San Francisco, bulk donations of food are being solicited to be served at three new homeless shelters. Larry Hostetler, administrator for San Francisco activities, is coordinating the efforts of 11 units in the city.

Captain Debra Shrum worked the phones at the Office of Emergency Services in San Mateo County and continued to monitor Army relief activities in many Northern California communities.

Hard-hit Santa Cruz and Watsonville people are being fed by the thousands, report Captains Scott and Charilee Ramsey. In Watsonville alone, nearly 3,000 meals a day were being served. When every hot dog bun in town had been bought, they sought out the supplying bakery and bought more.

In South San Francisco, Envoys Ron and Roberta McKinney coordinated efforts to feed 800 people a day in five different locations.

The Del Oro Division continues to respond quickly to meet the needs of victims and personnel. In the hard hit areas of Redding, Santa Rosa and San Rafael, mobile canteens served the National Guard. In Lodi, flood evacuees of the Woodbridge Mobile Homes are being fed hot meals.

Before it was known how much rain there would be, the Army had already planned a theatrical presentation to illustrate the wide variety of its services. This was for the annual Thank You/Culti-vation Luncheon, with the theme “The Way We Communicate.”

Planned by Public Relations Director Judy Vaughn, the event was well attended by media and potential donors. Captain Shrum co-hosted this with Larry Hostetler between the many flood-related activities. Featured was a unique presentation by Antoinette Abbamonte and Brian Kappel, specialists in deaf theater form and creative expression.


We hear that Major Steve Owen, county coordinator in Colorado Springs, has been elected President of the Colorado Springs Chapter of the Christian Management Association. Since this city is the international headquarters for many Christian organizations, this is a key CMA chapter.


It started when The Jimmer, local Victorville, Calif., disc jockey, vowed to collect enough food “to stretch from here to City Hall.” Measuring revealed this would be at least 6,400 cans of food. It became a huge project for the local Kiwanis, who turned to Captain Emmanuel Henry-John, c.o. of the Victorville Corps. Capt. Henry-John produced a flyer and then stood out in front of the local supermarket for four hours each morning asking for food in cans. It took three hours, with the help of the Girl Scouts, to line up the cans for inclusion into the Guiness Book of Records. The line curved a little because there were over 7,000 cans! Another job well done, no matter how unusual the goal may sound.


Major Jacque Fritz, San Bernardino Corps, reports that 58 volunteers visited 38 institutions this past month. These visits brightened the lives of over 3,000 people. Of these volunteers, there were 18 men from the San Bernardino ARC who sang and prayed with the people in the rest homes. We might also mention that Major Russell Fritz was recently nominated as Rotarian of the Year. A recognition well deserved.


The Tucson ARC (Captains John and Katherine Reed) recently distributed more than 1,600 blankets, in addition to food and toys, to the needy people of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. John Martin, owner of A Foam and Fabric Place in Tucson, donated hundreds of yards of material to the ARC, and beneficiaries and volunteers cut it into large pieces for blankets, tarps and wall or floor coverings. These then went to Nogales via three ARC trucks. After a four-hour wait for clearance, the trucks were met by the Mexican police and escorted to the Mayor’s office, where his wife, Maria Coda, accompanied them to four extremely needy sections of town.

The trip was such a success that the Tucson ARC is currently collecting slippers and crutches, specific items requested by Mrs. Coda for the seniors of Nogales.

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