Project Oasis–sacred space

Salvation Army and community effort turns empty area into a courtyard.

by Heather Melvoin –

The new courtyard at The Salvation Army in El Paso, Texas [Photo by John Martin]

“Project Oasis”—a venture that turned an empty outdoor space at The Salvation Army in El Paso, Tex., into a peaceful courtyard—officially opened during a ceremony on Feb. 20.

El Paso Mayor John Cook, accompanied by Carl Robinson—city representative and Salvation Army Advisory Board member—cut the ribbon to declare the project’s completion and availability for “refuge, relaxation and rejuvenation.” Assisting them were Lori Lowman-Hutson, president of the El Paso Junior League; and Regina Loya and Amanda Petersen, co-chairwomen for the development.

The project was sponsored and completed by the 2009-2010 provisional class of the Junior League.

The work entailed the movement and placement of over eight tons of rock; a tile mosaic; new plants, trees, shrubs and flowers; and patio furniture. A water fountain and barbeque grills were also installed. It took hundreds of volunteer hours covering 1.5 months of labor to complete the garden.

Funding specifically for this project—$7,000 excluding labor—was donated by individuals and businesses from the El Paso area.

Captains Keith and Robin Bottjen are the corps officers.

The Junior League of El Paso, Inc., is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

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