Jim and Jo-Ann Armstrong
For years, Jim and Jo-Ann Armstrong have supported The Salvation Army in Phoenix, Arizona through financial support and service on the Phoenix Metropolitan Advisory Board.
Inspired by daughter Allison’s request, the Armstrongs began helping the tutoring program established by the Army and Arizona State University at the South Mountain Youth Center. Allison, a tutor there, knew first-hand its financial needs. Currently, the Armstrong Family Foundation contributes approximately $110,000 annually to the program.
The couple has also supported and worked on a capital campaign for possible establishment of a Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in South Phoenix.
As owner and CEO of JDA Software, Jim has shared his enthusiasm for the Army with his employees through a matching funds program.
Jo-Ann serves as secretary of the Phoenix Metro Advisory Board and is involved in the South Mountain tutoring program.
For their dedication to their community and the work of The Salvation Army, Jim and Jo-Ann Armstrong are named Trailblazers of the Year.
At age 10, Lily Chin emerged from her father’s herb shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown to follow the music of a Salvation Army open air brigade.
In the 1960s, she returned to the Army, attracted by its mission of Christianity in action. She joined the San Francisco Chinatown Corps, where she has since been an active soldier.
When Lily, a nurse, retired, she became a full-time volunteer with the Army. Her ministries include: corps sergeant major, corps pianist/organist, public nurse for Harbor Light, after-school tutor at the corps, volunteer for Turk Street ministries and for the former San Francisco Citadel Corps, advisory council member for Harbor Light, advisory council secretary for Chinatown, instructor of the children/youth band, city band member, provider of free physical check-ups for children attending summer camp, and Christmas kettle bell ringer.
Always ready to help, Lily Chin serves with a generous spirit. For her dedication to her community and The Salvation Army, she is recognized as a Trailblazer of the Year.
Captains Martin and Nancy Cooper
Since 2003, Captains Martin (Marty) and Nancy Cooper have touched the lives of countless U.S. soldiers and their families, sending troops off to Iraq and greeting them when they return.
The Coopers began this ministry while serving as corps officers in Moreno Valley, California, which is near March Air Force Base. They organized community volunteers and solicited donations. Today, more than a million items have been donated and the Coopers have visited with at least 125,000 departing or returning troops.
While serving in Moreno Valley, Captain Marty often visited the base seven days a week. Last summer, the Coopers were transferred to Corona, a 45-minute drive from the base, but Captain Marty can still be found there each day of a deployment or an arrival.
For their tireless efforts in ministering to those serving our country, Captains Martin and Nancy Cooper have earned the distinction, Trailblazers of the Year.
For years, children in The Salvation Army’s Southwest Division have known Rachel Utrera as “aunty,” as friend, and most importantly as spiritual mentor.
Rachel has served in youth positions ranging from corps assistant, youth director, numerous camp positions—over 10 years at camp—and at divisional headquarters as administrative aide to the divisional youth secretary and currently as divisional youth program specialist. She has also ministered on service corps.
Always willing to help, Rachel has a genuine Christian spirit and seeks the best in others.
For Rachel’s commitment to mentoring and teaching Christian principles to children in the Southwest Division and abroad, she is named a Trailblazer of the Year.