Kalispell on the front line of disaster

by Cassandra Sproule, CAPTAIN – 

SALVATION ARMY VOLUNTEERS serve firefighters in Kalispell, Mont.

When a forest fire started in Glacier National Park, The Salvation Army in Kalispell was on call. My husband and I were assigned to making sure the disaster truck was stocked and ready to go—and by the time we had come back with the equipment for the truck, the corps had officially been called out to the site. Most of the office staff pitched in to help stock the truck and prepare the food that was needed to feed the people at the county incident command site.

Kalispell may be small—but when a disaster strikes, it seems pretty big. From a distance, we could see the smoke rising from the mountains. I could only imagine what it was like for those who were handling and assisting with the disaster. Cindy West, our social services director, stated, “Get working and get it done!”

It was busy for many and for some, it was tough, but for Earl Houtz, our business administrator, “It was exciting to be there. We were there to get out in the field and do something for the community. Also to get The Salvation Army’s name out and tell the community what we do and who we are. I was glad to hear how others said they felt so grateful to see us providing food.”

Providing food wasn’t easy. Florence, our head cook, slaved away preparing wonderful dishes for the firefighters, Sheriff Department, and other county workers. She said she was “Happy to do it, glad to do it, and happy to have done it.”

Captains Daniel and Doreen Freeman, corps officers, along with Captain Robert Sproule, Asst. Corps Officer, and a number of volunteers spent many hours at the site, working from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. They served an average of 150 meals a day.

Captain Doreen said, “I was happy we could help. The first day we arrived, firefighters were coming down off the mountain saying they haven’t eaten in 24 hours. It was a privilege and an honor to be there to help them so they could help others. Added Captain Daniel, “It was good that we could show that The Salvation Army is a viable part of the community.”


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