Salem appreciates supporters, friends
(l-r) SALEM ADVISORY BOARD members Jan and Dr. Micheal Morgan (chair) and Majors Carl and Hollie Ruthberg.
BY FLORENCE ROBB –
Against a backdrop of skyscrapers and lights, The Salvation Army in Salem, Oregon brought its annual appreciation dinner to 250 supporters, employees, clients and friends on the six-month anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
Board Chairman Dr. Micheal Morgan welcomed the group and introduced Divisional Commander Captain Kenneth G. Hodder and Majors Carl and Hollie Ruthberg of The Salvation Army’s New York Times Square Ministries.
The Salvation Army touched over 25,000 people through Salem’s many programs and services in 2001. Captain Darren Norton, corps officer, reported a 30% increase in the number of food boxes given out in 2001. “We have stepped into the gap,” Norton said, referring to the closing of another area service agency.
Sharing her success story as a result of Army ministry was Ms. Moni Foster, who came from Alaska to Oregon on a truck. After three years of “attitude,” Foster starting going to church services. The Salvation Army, she said, “believed in me even when I didn’t,” and helped her register at school. Presently she is a second year student, planning to work in human resources. Moni is no longer living at the Salvation Army shelter, but on her own now, well dressed and on her way.
Hodder presented the “Others Award,” to Chuck Baker, retired captain with the Salem Police Department and ten-year Salem advisory board member. Chuck has served as past chair of the advisory board and contributed countless hours over the years in the Army’s food bank and during the Army’s annual Christmas efforts.
Featured speakers for the evening were Majors Carl and Hollie Ruthberg, who spoke about the events surrounding the September 11 tragedies. Major Hollie was immediately on the job at the time of the tragedy. Out of town at the time, Major Carl returned to New York to work as a grief counselor and as coordinator of the crisis stress management team.
Major Hollie spoke of the “unprecedented outpouring of human help,” adding that “people became The Salvation Army, working alongside of us. In some instances they became the sole representative of the Army.”
Helping the victims became top priority, and the motto of those serving was, “We say ‘yes’ to what we can do right now,” as they tried to normalize the lives of the families involved. The Ruthbergs said “the constant prayer of God’s people nationwide was what kept us going. We will never forget that.”