Polka band rolls out the barrel for opening

Juneau dedicates their new Family Store.

by Jenni Ragland –

Advisory Board members, divisional and local leaders join Commissioner Philip Swyers (left) and Mayor Bruce Botehlo (third from left) at the grand opening of the Family Store in Juneau, Alaska. [Photo by Jenni Ragland]

Commissioner Philip Swyers, Western territorial commander, gave the address at the recent dedication of The Salvation Army’s new Family Store in Juneau, Alaska. Salvationists, city officials, shoppers and guests enjoyed the festivities. “From pencil to prayer to product” is how Juneau Advisory Board member and Senior Soldier Carol Pitts described the store. More than four years ago Major Larry Fankhauser (promoted to Glory in 2006) stood on the steps of the Juneau Corps building with Swyers and shared the vision of his advisory board to build a new store on the vacant lot across the street. Since then, the board worked to make the dream a reality—the dedication represented a significant achievement. Held during regular store hours, the event featured a local polka band and the Juneau Tlingit Dancers, who offered a traditional blessing, as the land on which the store lies is part of the old village of Juneau. Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho expressed appreciation for the Army’s ministry in the community and Representative Cathy Munoz presented a legislative citation to corps officers, Captains Jack and Dawn Smith, honoring the Army’s more than 100 years of service there. After Swyers’ address, Major Nila Fankhauser, Anchorage social services director, led the dedicatory prayer. The Family Store—almost double the size of the previous store—displays The Salvation Army’s brand promise, “Doing the Most Good,” in large letters for all to see. Above the exit is a custom-crafted wooden plaque—a reminder of the Army’s service to those in need. Smith received this gift from a 32-year-old inmate at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center after the Army provided toys for his children this past Christmas. Commenting on the significance of the Family Store, Smith noted that “not only has the store created a new awareness of the Army’s ministry, but we are seeing an increase in the number of shoppers and donations that will help ensure the Army will continue to meet the ongoing needs in the community.”

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