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Tile Wall honors Army’s heritage

by Olivia Yates – 

Legacy and loving memories are alive on the Western Territory’s Tile Wall of Honor at Crestmont College in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. The more than 200 tiles displayed to date commemorate officers, soldiers, families and friends

“Visitors always pause here to find their special tiles,” said Crestmont board member Ruberta Weaver, one of the wall’s founders. “It’s a stunning setting surrounded by flowers and the chapel’s soaring stained glass windows.”

The stories behind these tiles express service, courage and faith, past and present. Brigadiers Clenton and Emma Irby, remembered by daughter Lt. Colonel Carolyn Peacock and her brothers, exemplify parallel lifetime contributions to God’s kingdom.

Clenton’s work with prisoners and young men in the military amnesty program earned him commendations including a citation from President Gerald R. Ford. “But it was his Christian love and witness that was remembered by an inmate who had been saved by the persistence of this man,” says his daughter. “Emma Irby served beside her husband in every appointment with a quiet ministry but one in which her love for God and his children rang loud and clear.”

Captain Jesus Hernandez, remembered by Bridgebuilder cadets Magaly (granddaughter) and Harold Laubach, was converted at an open air meeting in Cuba. “Because of his choice that day to give his life to Christ, many family members are now officers,” say the Laubachs. “…Jesus and his wife, Magaly’s parents, two sets of aunts and uncles, a brother, and cousins still in Cuba.”

Other immigrant Salvationist memories include Christine Linstead Stewart, of Glasgow, Scotland, who became a staunch supporter, soldier, and musician. “When she became physically unable to participate musically, her card and prayer ministry on behalf of the Torrance Songsters touched many people throughout the world,” says son-in-law and Salvationist Dennis VanderWeele. Thomas and Ivy Waterfield are celebrated by daughter Major Donna Ames. “In 1954, they were part of the wave of Salvationists coming west from England,” says Ames. “They joined the Inglewood Corps, which blended Salvationist traditions from Britain, Scandinavia, South America and other countries.”

Among remarkable achievements of officers profiled on the wall is the ministry of Brigadier Josef Korbel, arrested as a corps officer in Czechoslovakia during World War II and imprisoned for 10 years…for preaching the Gospel under an atheistic regime.

Forty years later, Korbel returned to Czechoslovakia to help re-establish the Army’s presence; the depth of his dedication admitted him to the Order of the Founder.

More than 20 corps and ARC are represented on engraved tiles honoring programs or people of the corps.

“I thank God for San Francisco ARC and Pinehurst Auxiliary,” says Cadet Paula Paine, a graduate of the ARC’s Pinehurst Lodge for Women. “The Auxiliary helps other women get back on their feet. Without them, I wouldn’t be at Crestmont.”

Torrance Corps’ Chris Mallet was Southern California divisional bandmaster. The Chris Mallet School of Music Memorial Fund is a testimony to Chris’ influence on Salvation Army music and on young musicians.

Medford Corps’ Brigadier Alice Stiles felt the call of the mission field in 1946, serving at the Catherine Booth Hospital and as beloved “Mother” at the Boys’ Boarding School in Nagercoil, India, and later as Territorial Youth Secretary, Divisional Commander and Principal of the College for Officer Training. With a Master’s degree earned during furloughs, Alice was particularly admired by the people of India as one who lived humbly and served faithfully.

Colonel Robert R. Tobin’s cross of tiles proclaims, ‘To God be the Glory.’ “Many words could be used to describe his 42-year contribution to this territory and to the Kingdom of God,” wrote Major Joyce Stevenson. “He was known for his kindness and humble approach to leadership…and no one who ever heard him sing will forget how he used his God-given bass voice to praise the Lord and bless the listener.”

A cross of tiles is dedicated to Lt. Colonel Chris Buchanan by his wife, Lt. Colonel Janice Buchanan, and their family. The text ‘Ideas are where you find them’ recalls the colonel’s words to cadets at the training college. “Chris told them to be observant, aware and mindful, and they would never lack for ministry-enhancing ideas,” says Buchanan. “Years later they would tell him, ‘You were right!’”

Still to come are more tiles and more stories, including a 15-tile cross commemorating members of the Stillwell family, who figured so prominently in the development of the Western Territory.

The territory’s wall is a celebration of life, marking births and promotions to Glory, graduations, anniversaries, tributes, and expressions of faith. The roots are deep, and the wall is an enduring legacy of the dedicated and often heroic individuals who make up The Salvation Army in the Western Territory.

To order a tile, call (310) 265-6140 or visit www.crestmontcollege.edu.


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