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National Social Services Conference held in Denver



SHOWN AT THE National Social Service Conference are (l-r) Gordon Bingham, Western Territory social service secretary, Lt. Colonel Paul Bollwahn, National Commander John Busby, Dr. Edward Lataille, territorial director of rehabilitation services and recipient of the Western Territory’s 2002 Award for Excellence in Social Work, and Western Territory ARC Commander Major Ron Strickland.


BY ROBERT DOCTER – 

Surrounded by the majestic backdrop of the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, over 500 officers, soldiers and mission-focused social workers from around the United States convened in Denver, Colo. for the National Social Services Conference. During the conference, the National Commander, Commissioner John Busby, presented the Army’s National Social Services Award to the West’s Santa Fe Springs Transitional Living Center located in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

Busby, stated: “The conference theme of ‘Mission Effectiveness in Faith Based Services’ is illustrated by the quality of this program that provides support services for 28 homeless women and their children.” With wide-ranging treatment and educational interventions, the program seeks to facilitate a family’s movement to permanent and independent housing, increase income levels, deal with domestic violence and substance abuse issues and promote greater self determination.

The program’s director, Jon Henderson said: “We are truly honored and humbled by this recognition. During the conference I was reminded of just how many quality programs the Army has nationwide. It was nice, though, to have our staff at the TLC (Transitional Living Center) recognized for what they do because they are a dedicated group of Christians who work very hard to help our residents succeed. Their commitment to our women and children goes far beyond a paycheck. They also provide a great Christian witness in the way they do their jobs that often helps lead residents to Christ. God has been faithful at the TLC, and we make an effort to include Him in everything we do.”

Gordon Bingham, the West’s territorial social service secretary, chaired the conference. “Speaking on behalf of the planning committee, which was responsible for the conference content, I am grateful to Lt. Colonel Harold Brodin and the staff of the Intermountain Divisional headquarters,” said Bingham. “They supported the conference with staffing, music, equipment and supplies, as well as opening the programs of the Denver area for tours and on-site workshops. We are grateful as well to Lt. Colonel Paul Bollwahn, national social services secretary, and the staff of the social services department at national headquarters, who handle all of the mechanics and details that make the conference work.”

Bingham noted it was the eighth independent national conference. “These have clearly matured into an effective training vehicle that both reflects and contributes to the excellence of Army programs across the country. The conference has been faithful in upholding and advancing not only the professional development of our programs, but their spiritual foundations as well.

“It is gratifying that our Santa Fe Springs Transitional Living Center was chosen this year as an example of program excellence. It rated very well in all 12 of the criteria by which programs are evaluated, including a well-maintained facility, sound financing, excellent staff, and a thoroughly holistic program of caring. Congratulations to Jon Henderson and his staff on this well-deserved honor.”

The conference also recognized Dr. Edward Lataille, territorial director of rehabilitation services, with the Western Territory’s 2002 Award for Excellence in Social Work. Lataille has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the social services ministry and profession. He has significantly helped to improve the quality and quantity of services offered through the Adult Rehabilitation Center program during his 17 years of dedicated service with the Army. He was on the steering committee for the first drug court while directing Rehabilitation Services at the San Diego ARC and led the way with considerable innovation in the practice of addiction rehabilitation.

A number of distinguished speakers added much to the conference.

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