Social workers honor Joan Souders

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COMMISSIONER JOHN BUSBY presents Major Joan Souders with the National Award for Excellence in Social Work; with them are Gordon Bingham and Lt. Colonel Paul Bollwahn.

Major Joan Souders received the National Award for Excellence in Social Work from the national commander, Commissioner John Busby, at the Army’s recent National Social Work Conference in Kansas City, MO.

Over the past 33 years in a number of corps officer appointments, from rural Alaska villages to urban centers, she has developed outstanding social work ministries. For the past five years she and her husband, Gary, have served as corps officers at the River Valley Corps in Grandview, WA.

Northwest Divisional Commander Major Ron Strickland said: “Major Joan Souders is spiritually intuitive in meeting the needs of the people in the Grand-view community as well as the lower Yakima Valley area. Her work in this area with high concentrations of poverty combines compassion with competence. She works in concert with her husband in doing the work of the Master in a financially deprived area. The recent award that she received in Kansas City was well deserved. Major Souders is a ‘can do’ officer.”

Gordon Bingham, territorial social service secretary, stated: “Major Souders has not been content just to continue with programs as usual. She is in touch with the needs of the communities in which she has served and has responded creatively to those needs. She exemplifies William booth’s ‘do something’ attitude.”

Souders brought the Army national recognition when the U.S. Department of housing and Urban Development featured Grandview’s “Kids First” latch key program as an example of “What works in the Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities.” Additionally, she has developed the “Better Look” program, which offers, interview-ready and job-ready clothing as well as educational classes to TANF (Welfare Reform) clients.

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