Officer Reflections

Lt. Colonels Paul and Ronda Bollwahn

by Paul and Ronda Bollwahn, Lt. Colonels –

Lt. Colonels Ronda and Paul Bollwahn

Upon our retirement from active service, we say “farewell,” particularly to those who warmly welcomed us two years ago to the wonderful Western Territory. We move on now from the everlasting bustle of Los Angeles to Denver where our family lives. Our appointments have been interesting and challenging; we wouldn’t change a thing.

We left the College for Officer Training in Chicago as cadet-lieutenants 41 years ago to Evanston, Ill., as corps officers, followed by Chicago’s inner city. From 1971-1995, we served in a variety of divisional positions within the USA Central Territory, including directing social services ministries in Chicago. In 1995, we welcomed the opportunity to serve at National Headquarters as the national social services secretary (Paul) and the national consultant on aging and social concerns (Ronda).

With academic training, years of experience, and the great respect bestowed on the Salvation Army shield, we found ourselves easily accepted on Capitol Hill. Representing the widespread social service ministries that serve locally gave us immense opportunities to partner with organizations and people of influence in informing public policy. We were God’s servants riding the new wave of recognition given to our Army—“America’s Favorite Charity.”

We were honored to hear appreciation for the Army from U.S. leaders, the Secretary General of the U.N., and many foreign heads of state and diplomats; be a part of the annual National Social Services Conferences and American Correctional Association Conferences; travel the country and world to witness Army ministries; twice attend the Vice President’s Christmas party; and count each year the number of new births in Christ recorded in our social services programs across the nation.

Ronda experienced a highlight while working on the National Volunteer Guidelines Manual and THINK VOLUNTEERS, a seven-module training course funded by a grant from UPS. For Paul it was the USA Commissioners’ Conference approval of his proposal to include the social imperative in our Statement of Doctrines and their approval of human trafficking as a national hot issue—IHQ followed immediately.

Acclaim from various groups came to The Salvation Army through recognition of our efforts. None, however, was equal to the invitation of Commissioner Phil Swyers for us to serve as active leaders in our new home territory—the Westin 2006. We have been overwhelmed and appreciative of the inclusive acceptance we have felt in coming to Southern California.

SoCal is a command dedicated to serving, teaching, preaching, and praying. We love fellowship—over 1,700 people enjoyed SoCal Celebration Day. We love worship—the 2007 average Sunday morning attendance was 81 people. We love giving, to make the Army internationally viable and by supporting a number of mission trips. Our young people love active involvement in music, SAY activities, BOOT Camp, Bible Bowl and divisional camps. We love serving the vast needs of people through comprehensive, quality programming that impacts the lives of thousands.

Together in this Army “we are more than conquerors.” To God be the glory! We followed his plan.

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