Philanthropist impacted many

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by Sue Schumann Warner – 

Sue Schumann WarnerThe entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Galatians 5:20 (NIV)

Mrs. Joan Kroc touched many lives in many ways. The following provides a glimpse into the impact she made on others.

“It was a unique privilege to meet Joan Kroc,” said Lt. Colonel Debora Bell. “After I got over the awe of meeting this person of influence and power, I recognized a woman who loved God. Because of her love for God, she loved people and wanted to help make this world a better place. She recognized that The Salvation Army also loves God, loves people and wants to make this world a better place. I think that is why she trusted us. My prayer is that we can live up to this amazing trust.”

“I still had never met Joan Kroc,” recalled Colonel Don Sather. “The day came when she said, ‘It is time we meet so I can see your plans for this facility!’ Three proposals were prepared for her: $25-, $50-, and $80-million, which would include endowments. When she was given the portfolio, after some discussion she said without hesitation:This is the one I want, the $80 million plan!“

“While I was sharing about some previously unexpected challenges to the operation of the center, Mrs. Kroc responded to me with absolute confidence that we—The Salvation Army—would do what was best under difficult circumstances,” said Lt. Colonel Doug O’Brien. “She believed in us—that we would make good decisions about the resources she had provided and that we would make good decisions to help the people in our communities. She trusted us to do the right thing.”

Art Stillwell recalled, “She wanted to provide opportunity to people in East San Diego. She looked for a group that was in the business of providing opportunity and found it in The Salvation Army.”

Suzi Stone brought 30 years of exercise teaching experience to the Kroc Center, and launched the center’s water exercise programs. She teaches three classes each weekday, with an average of 12 members per class. “My classes vary in age from 25 to 86 years. We’ve become family,” she said. Class members are involved in center activities including reading to children at the monthly Literary Events; some were the first volunteers to arrive on-site to assist in the center’s relief efforts during the wildfire crisis.

In late 2002, when the skateboard park closed temporarily to conduct the annual Holiday Food and Toy Distribution Program, 13-year-old Brett Ryan took up figure skating. He took his first formal skating lesson in January 2003 and was awarded top honors in a regional ice competition in August 2003—a surprising achievement for someone so new to figure skating.

Tom Craven joined the center “Because of the people.” A steadfast center volunteer as well as a regular to the Fitness Center, Tom states, “I’ve been to other workout facilities and always felt they were trying to sell me something. Here, they make me feel I’m part of the family.” With a professional background in counseling, Tom understands the long-term impact of the center’s programs and opportunities; he also has a personal story about the Army from his childhood in Boston: “My father was an alcoholic, and he went to The Salvation Army to help get back on his feet.” Tom credits the Army with changing his father’s life and his as well.

George Lynch, starting forward for the NBA New Orleans Hornets, held his first annual George Lynch Basket-ball Camp in the center’s gymnasium last summer. Several scholarships were awarded to promising young members of the center’s family. Among the recipients was 11-year-old Roddrick Dugger. “Basketball camp was a very special time for me. The coaches made sure you had fun and taught you good athletic and leadership skills that you could use anywhere.”

The 15,000 sq. ft. indoor skatepark provides a safe skating environment for the community. Special classes for home schooled children, skateboarding camps, and competitions provide opportunities for fun and skills enhancement. Recently, 2003 X Games silver medalist Andy MacDonald gave a demonstration and autograph session.

Thank you, Joan Kroc

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