When I first heard the news

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Commissioner Linda Bond and Joan Kroc at the opening of the Joan B. Kroc Theatre for the Performing Arts.

While traveling to the Cascade Officers Councils’ venue, I received a phone call indicating that I must phone Mrs. Joan Kroc’s lawyer. When I called him, he said I would need to go to San Diego the next day for an hour meeting. He realized I was in Oregon but said it was necessary that I come.

Thanks to the kind and understanding officers of the Cascade Division, who had no idea why I was being whisked away from the Officers Councils, the schedule was re-arranged so that I could return to the Councils the following day.

Though weary from a busy fall schedule and a very early rise that day, it was impossible to shut down and just rest for the duration of the trip. I tried to imagine what could be so important that a personal visit was necessary.

From the airport, I was taken to Mrs. Kroc’s office building. I shared lunch with her two trustees and her lawyer. In reflection, I continue to chuckle at the thought that our lunch arrived in Styrofoam boxes and we ate with plastic forks. Talk about contrast! After a brief time of small talk, her lawyer explained why I had been asked to come. Mrs. Kroc insisted that the bequest be conveyed to me personally and that I share the news with the leaders of the Army in the USA. That alone was a privilege. And then a copy of her trust pertaining to the Army was given me and I was told that the Army would inherit the residual estate. When the dollar amount was stated, my appetite vanished. I knew Joan Kroc trusted The Salvation Army when she lavished an earlier gift on us, but this? She obviously found us to be trustworthy. Of all the wonderful organizations in this world that were worthy and needy, she chose us.

The others in the room echoed my delight that day. While they were there in the official capacities as lawyer and trustees, they were also trusted friends of Mrs. Kroc. They knew her mind and heart and realized that her dream would be fulfilled through the Army. The sense of excitement in the board room that day reminded me of Christmas morning, when older brothers and sisters stand around in delight to watch the child open her gifts. How thrilled they were for the Army!

I was entrusted with this secret and had the privilege of sharing it in a private gathering at the Commissioners’ Conference. The general reaction was similar to mine, immediate shock and gratitude, followed by a flurry of internal questions about how best to manage the money, the project and the announcement.

One evening in the privacy of my home, it was as though I heard the Lord laugh. For months, I had been thinking about the mission priorities and in particular, how we could find a million dollars to set aside for the hiring, training and development of youth leaders so that we could truly make ministry to youth a priority. In my estimation, I was asking for the moon, dreaming dreams far beyond our resources. And all the time, the Lord had a bounty in store!


One donor’s big dream came true

One donor’s big dream came true

A Henry Moore sculpture stands on the grounds of the Kroc Center “Two weeks

A life dedicated to pursuing peace

A life dedicated to pursuing peace

Teamwork skills are taught at the Kroc Center Steadfast in her desire to help

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