By Victor Pinzon –
The inspiring music of the Divisional Staff Ensemble greeted more than 400 people as they entered the Army’s newest facility in Escondido for the building’s recent dedication.
Offering a beautiful chapel, ample classroom space, activity rooms, and a well equipped gymnasium, the center will serve the San Diego communities of Escondido, Poway, and San Marcos.
“This new corps signals an expanded and constantly growing role in the community,” said Lt. Colonel Raymond Peacock, divisional commander. “Our new Escondido Center combines visual attractiveness with program and administrative functions that will enhance growth and productivity.”
Colonel Bill Luttrell, territorial personnel secretary and former San Diego County Coordinator, delivered the dedicatory address and stressed the importance of what the Army will achieve to benefit others through the new facility. Colonel Gwen Luttrell read from Haggai 2:1-9, and in a moment of sentimental reflection, Captain Gerald Pigeon, officer-in-charge, presented a special memorial to the family of Don Kidd, a long time Escondido Advisory Council member whose dream of a new facility for the Army in Escondido is now reality.
Pigeon believes the new building offers an opportunity to expand services to the needy and senior citizens, and a very successful after school drop-in program for children at risk that has achieved much success and public acclaim.
“We’re going to roll up our sleeves and get right to work making this community a better and safer place to live,” he said. “Our new location and facilities fortify our strategy to meet community needs in a timely and efficient manner. We have had great success in the past and I thank God that the future looks even brighter.”
Lt. Colonel David P. Riley (R), former divisional commander, was honored for his leadership in getting the building project completed. He provided the dedication prayer.
Judi Anderson, a soldier of the El Cajon Corps, added her soprano voice to the occasion with a moving rendition of “Bless This House.” To conclude the event, Lt. Colonel Carolyn Peacock delivered the benediction.
Donations and the sale of the old Salvation Army center in Escondido have already paid $750,000 in project funds. The Salvation Army still needs to raise an additional $750,000 before the building is paid in full.