Santa Rosa Corps Community Center is a knock-out

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Corps welcomes community to visit its new community center.


Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs (r) and Del Oro Divisional Commander Major Douglas Riley have some fun in the boxing ring belonging to Double Punches Boxing Club, a program of the Santa Rosa Corps. Photo by Stephanie Vrapi

By Sidne Goodwin

Weather reports predicted snow and rain for the last weekend in February, but God overruled them—bestowing perfect weather in Santa Rosa, Calif., for the corps’ Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, open house, car show and building dedication. On the day of the car show, over 1,000 people visited the new corps’ facility.

Ten years of dreaming, planning, fundraising, and construction culminated in transformation of 43,000-plus sq. ft. warehouse space into a fully functional corps community center. The remodel included administrative offices, a new chapel, dining room, commercial kitchen, Family Services department, warehouse, recreation room, library, computer lab, and introduction of the Double Punches Boxing Club.

Corps Officers Captains Mark and Vicki Gilden welcomed Divisional Commander Major Douglas Riley and Commissioners James and Carolyn Knaggs, Western Territory leaders, who presided over the ceremony. Other noted guests included Sonoma County 5th District Supervisor Efren Carrillo, Santa Rosa Mayor Ernesto Oliveras, Advisory Board Chairman Gary Zanolini, and Wendell Nordby, advisory board member. Carrillo and Oliveras expressed appreciation to The Salvation Army for its 122 years of service to the community.

The timbrels of the corps’ Praise and Performance Factory and a regional brass ensemble provided entertainment.

On Saturday, a car show—consisting of 42 vehicles ranging from handcrafted chrome bicycles to low riders to a 1910 Hudson—was a hit. The Santa Rosa Corps’ Emergency Disaster Services Canteen served free hot dogs, hamburgers and nachos. Twenty-five bicycles were given away as door prizes.

Along with creating good will in the neighborhood, the event raised money for the corps’ Cooperative Living program through car registration fees.

Approximately 170 people attended the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Sunday night. Entertainment included a boxing demonstration by Double Punches gym and a ribbon dance by the girls of the Praise and Performance Factory.

Many attendees said, “I didn’t even know you were here,” and “I didn’t realize you offered so much.”

Jackie Simons was awarded “volunteer of the year” for her service on the advisory board, as a bellringer and event aide, and for being a part of the “army behind the Army.”

“We praise God that everything went better than planned, from the weather to the turnout. It was a great weekend and we were able to show the community that we are here to serve them,” said Captain Mark Gilden.


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