Lt. John Waterton retires, receives William Booth award

During his recent retirement service at territorial headquarters, Lt. John Waterton received the William Booth Award, recognizing spiritual dedication and service to others. Territorial Commander Commissioner Philip Swyers presented the award to the surprised Waterton, who had wondered why he was urged to have all his family members attend the retirement chapel service.

A lifelong Salvationist, Waterton first went to work for the Army 49 1/2 years ago at the Army’s Reliance Bank at International Headquarters in London, beginning what would be a distinguished career in the fields of finance and accounting. After two years, he immigrated to Canada; later he moved to California where he worked for several banks. He was commissioned a Salvation Army officer in 1968 with the Messengers of the Faith Session, and then served for three years as corps officer in Monterey, California.

Waterton returned to the banking world in San Francisco for four years, then moved to Portland, Oregon in 1975 to serve on the divisional staff as cashier and bookkeeper. From 1976-1983 he was Cascade’s divisional finance director, and he served again in that capacity from 1985-1992, after two years as director of finance for the YMCA.

In 1992, he moved to territorial headquarters, where he was territorial auditor from 1992-1997 and director of accounting systems from 1997 to his retirement.

A tireless worker, Waterton’s accomplishments were significant. In the mid-80s, he implemented the Alpha Micro system in the Cascade Division, making this the first division in the U.S. to have fully functional computerized accounting in every corps and institution. Later he designed and implemented centralized payroll for every division in the territory.

Waterton headed the Army’s use of the Microsoft Great Plains Accounting System for the Western Territory, bringing the territory into fully automated, fully integrated accrual accounting. He has served as liaison to territories throughout the world, helping them set up and implement Great Plains, which is now in use in the Central and Southern Territories, New Zealand, Singapore/Malaysia, IHQ, Portugal and Hong Kong.

The money saved by using Great Plains directly benefits those the Army serves.

Because of his vision and untiring efforts in implementing Great Plains and in serving as liaison to other territories, The Salvation Army Western Territory was recognized in March 2003 at the Microsoft Business Solutions Conference with their annual Pinnacle Award for Overall Excellence, largely because of Waterton’s work and his relationships with vendors and consultants.

All who spoke at his retirement mentioned his energy and tirelessness, but “his great love is the word of God—he’s lived it and taught it,” said Commissioner Patricia Swyers. “He works to make jobs easier for others, as if all were his sisters and brothers.” His commitment to his work reflects his commitment to advancing God’s kingdom.

Lt. Col. Kurt Burger described Waterton as one who can see the details but not lose sight of the big picture—he sees how changes impact the territory, not just a specific location. He also credited Waterton’s ability to learn and to change, and noted how this ability has benefited the Western Territory. Before Swyers presented Waterton with the William Booth award, Burger stated, “The Western Territory’s prominent position in Information Technology and Finance are due in large part to the work of John Waterton.”

Commissioner Bill Luttrell presented the retirement certificate, and Major Katherine Wood presented special music, reflecting on the service of Lt. John Waterton.

His family, friends and associates expect that in retirement, John will continue working hard to serve God.

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