NAOC wins big in Dallas

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Stellar speakers highlight extraordinary national event.

by Sue Schumann Warner –

Left to right: Karen Hesseltine, Jeff Hesseltine, Lt. Colonel Diane O’Brien, Beverly Davis, Lt. Colonel Doug O’Brien, Dick Davis, Pat Tucker, Commissioner Pat Swyers, Dick Tucker and Commissioner Phil Swyers.

From the moment Jude Gottrich’s powerful rendition of the national anthem echoed through the cavernous hall—with the Stars and Stripes waving on 100-foot high definition screens—delegates became aware that this was going to be a powerful occasion.

“NAOC 2007 will be recorded as one of the best in the history of the event,” stated National Commander Commissioner Israel L. Gaither. “It was a mission watershed experience…It’s very clear to me: God is preparing this ‘Champion Army’ for a deeper impact on America and this event was a significant step in the unfolding of his plan.”

Over 2,300 attended the National Advisory Organizations “Army of Champions” conference held in Dallas, Tex., April 25-29; 464 were from the Western Territory and others traveled thousands of miles, from locations ranging from Mexico, India and South Africa to Uganda and Congo.

Dallas Cowboys owners Jerry and Gene Jones served as honorary chairpersons. Charlotte Jones Anderson chaired the unforgettable event. Major George Hood, national community relations and development secretary was conference executive officer. Also participating were Western territorial leaders Commissioners Phil and Pat Swyers.

Outstanding speakers including Jerry Jones, First Lady Laura Bush, author and pastor Rick Warren, Good to Great author Jim Collins, National Commander Commissioner Israel L. Gaither, and National Advisory Board Chair Rob Pace, raised the bar for Army gatherings such as this. Actress Dixie Carter of Desperate Housewives and a longtime Salvation Army supporter, spoke of her appreciation for the Army’s work and the impact it had on her father, who served in World War II.

In addition, many workshops were held that provided specific assistance regarding multiple topics germane to advisory boards and auxiliary organizations; scores of “best practices” from across the nation were featured in the conference handbook.

Ever aware of The Salvation Army’s international ministry, monies were raised through $5 challenges to support the Army’s retirement fund for officers in developing countries. In all, $47,000 was given during the three days.

Throughout the conference, football terminology linked ongoing events, with metaphors such as the playbook, a coin toss, game plans, and the touchdown exhibit hall, that carried out the “Army of Champions” theme. On Saturday night, delegates were bussed to the Dallas Cowboys’ Texas Stadium for dinner on the field and presentations by Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, mascot Rowdy and others.

Never has such an event been held under the Army’s flag.

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