Where are they now
Long-serving Western Territory officers were recognized during the 2014 Commissioning weekend as follows:
Major Brian Bearchell
Major Mildred Bearchell
Major Donna Bowman
Major John Chamness
Major Lani Chamness
Major Lola Davis
Major Elizabeth Delgado
Major Pedro Delgado
Major David Harmon
Major Linda Harmon
Lt. Colonel Magali Pardo
Lt. Colonel Zoilo Pardo
Major Keilah Toy
Major Ron Toy
Major Kyle Trimmer
Major Martha Trimmer
Major Julio Vasquez
Major Karen Vasquez
Lt. Colonel Veronica Jung Danielson
Lt. Colonel Joan Doughty
Lt. Colonel Victor Doughty
Major Donald Gilger
Major Ronda Gilger
Major Glen Madsen
Major Linda Madsen
Major Randy Mulch
Major Harryette Raihl
Major Joyce Takeuchi
Major James Baker
Major Evelyn Chavez
Major Sandra Dossey
Major Debbie Hood
Major Ken Hood
Major Gwendolyn Jones
Major Betsy Kyle
Major Benton Markham III
Major JoAnn Markham
Major Florence Rodriguera
Major Lawrence Shiroma
Major Debi Shrum
Major Marcia Baker
Lt. Colonel Ardis Fuge
Major David Sholin
Major Harry Lacey
Major Moses Reyes
Commissioned in 1989 with the Ambassadors for Christ session, Major John Chamness celebrates 25 years of service in 2014. He currently serves as divisional commander in the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division.
Chamness said he has shared in a number of highlights throughout his officership, including planting corps and starting an envoy training program in the Marshall Islands, building an emergency shelter and family resource center in Spokane, Wash., and building the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
“All of these projects and programs are highlights, but the greatest joy has come from the many lives that Lani and I have been privileged to be apart of,” he said. “The people that have allowed us to come alongside them and through our mutual ministry to each other we have encouraged and helped one another in this journey of faith.”
Chamness said that while he hopes his wisdom has increased, not much else in his officership has changed since his commissioning.
“I still have the same passion I did then,” he said. “My love for God and others is what drove me then and it is what inspires me today. I guess the one thing that has strengthened is my belief that the Army really can be the most amazing change agent of God if we simply stop getting hung up in things that don’t matter and get busy with the great work that is before us.”
To new officers, Chamness said: “Pour your life into each appointment and don’t worry about what will come next. God will take each experience and build on it. So get out there and work hard, pray often, do your devotions daily, and never get off the train in the middle of the tunnel. There have been dark, lonely, and incredibly challenging days and while it may have been easier to quit, it has been through these times that I have grown to trust in the Lord with all my heart. Also, your corps is bigger than the building in which you reside—it is the entire community where you are stationed—and make good friends and stay connected to them. It is these friends who will stand by you and hold you accountable to in this amazing journey of faith.”
His life verse: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb. 12:1).
Commissioned in 1984 with the Servants of God session, Major Don Gilger celebrates 30 years of service in 2014. He has served in corps and divisional appointments from Colorado Springs to San Diego, including as the divisional secretary for program in the Intermountain Division, county coordinator in El Paso County, Colo., and is currently the divisional secretary in the Cascade Division.
“My proudest work is first my family,” Gilger said. “Having the privilege of working alongside my best friend and wife, Major Ronda Gilger, is a rare and precious blessing. I can see her growing and becoming a leader in her own right and she challenges me to be a better officer. Our four children and their families bring us such joy and a sense that our spiritual heritage lives on in each of them.”
Each appointment, he said, holds special memories, but one particularly stands out—enrolling 50 junior and 50 senior soldiers in Greeley, Colo.
“We added 100 new soldiers to our rolls on one Sunday,” Gilger said. “As I look back over the past 30 years it is all the lives changed and the people touched for God that bring me the most joy and fulfillment. People really do count.”
Being an officer for 30 years, he said, has meant a deepening of love and understanding of God and The Salvation Army. “My theme is and will always be ‘Great is Thy faithfulness,’ Gilger said. “If you are called of God there is no greater joy in life than to be a Salvation Army officer. This is not a career, it is a calling first and foremost.”
To new officers, Gilger said: “There are days when you will want to quit and all you will have to hold onto is that calling. Make sure you live on a cash basis and live by the 20/80 rule—10 percent to God, 10 percent to savings, 80 percent on everything else. Learn to love the place and people you are sent to shepherd. Do not count how many Christmas seasons there are to go until you retire.”
His life verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).
Commissioned in 1979 with the Joyful Evangelists session, Major Evelyn Chavez celebrates 35 years of service in 2014. She has served in corps appointments from Henderson, Nev.; to Richmond, Calif.; Clovis, N.M.; and Yuma, Ariz., and in various capacities at the Golden State Divisional Headquarters. She is currently the territorial property secretary at Western Territory Headquarters.
Chavez also served on a number of disaster teams, including the Columbine, Colo., shooting, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake.
“It is a humbling ministry to serve people when their circumstances have put them in such chaos, and as a Salvation Army officer in these situations I have had the opportunity to serve people in their greatest time of need,” Chavez said. “It is an honor to know God would use me in that way.”
At the time of her commissioning, Chavez said, she didn’t have a real appreciation for the vastness of the ministry of The Salvation Army. Through her service and experiences, she said, “I have appreciation for the responsibility that comes with putting on the uniform, whether that is my full uniform or a polo shirt with a red shield. When you enter a situation wearing the uniform, the public has a perceived respect for The Salvation Army, and as an officer, I have an integrity to uphold.”
To new officers, Chavez said: “Be on the lookout for the challenges of each day and realize that you will be given a variety of opportunities for ministry—no matter where you are appointed.”
Her life verse: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps. 27:1)
Commissioned in 1970 with the Undaunted session, Major David Sholin celebrates 40 years of service in 2014, having stepped out of service for a short time. He has served in corps appointments in Montana, Washington, California, Idaho, and Alaska, and as divisional finance secretary in the Alaska, Southern California and Intermountain divisions. He currently serves as the Rio Hondo area coordinator and corps officer in Whittier, Calif., and as a member of the Western Territorial Staff Songsters.
For Sholin, the most exciting time of his officership was his more than eight years in Alaska.
“Living and working with the native Alaskan soldiers in this remote section of the territory was a blessing and a challenge,” he said. “As a divisional officer, I traveled throughout the state encouraging other officers and their children, and shared in their ministries serving God together.”
Sholin said he always believed that God wanted him to live and serve as a Salvation Army officer.
“Over the years there were very challenging times that defined my work for the Army and my personal relationship with the Lord,” he said. “Keeping a clear understanding of the two has helped me to keep a proper perspective in prioritizing my ministry efforts.”
To new officers, Sholin said: “Show up for work and have a servant’s heart. If you do not have anyone to help you, you still have to do the work yourself, so learn to be flexible in all that you do. If you become discouraged, remind yourself that The Salvation Army is an organization and its officers and leaders are human.”
His life verse: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6).
Commissioned in 1970 with the Undaunted session, Major Harry Lacey celebrates 45 years of service in 2014. He served as a corps officer for 25 years in the Canada and Bermuda Territory and in Yuma and Phoenix, Ariz. Currently, Lacey is the pastoral care officer in the Officer Care and Development Department at the Western Territory Headquarters.
“I am most proud of serving as a corps officer,” he said. “The opportunity to be the shepherd of God’s people, teaching and preaching the Word and establishing relationships through pastoral ministry has proven an enriching spiritual experience.
Lacey said officership means giving himself completely to fulfilling God’s call to serve not only a corps congregation, but the community at large.
“It means that I make myself available to serve his people without reservation, always having their best interests at heart, be it physical, spiritual or emotional,” he said. “It means that I will remain loyal to the covenant I signed and loyal to the Army. The privilege of being a Salvation Army officer has provided me with a great appreciation for the international flavor of the organization, and the wide spectrum of ministry opportunities available.”
In giving his life to serving God through The Salvation Army, Lacey said, “It has been and still is an amazing journey.”
To new officers, Lacey said: “People matter most. Love them. Get out among your people. Visit them in their homes. Build relationships and be the pastor that they need and watch God grow your ministry. Be teachable and obedient. Never stop learning and seek out good, Godly mentors that will help you to be productive for the Kingdom’s sake. Be faithful in strengthening your relationship with God through personal devotional time.”
His life verse: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of god that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:37-39).
Commissioned in 1969 with the Evangelist session, Major Moses Reyes celebrates 45 years of service in 2014. He has served in corps appointments throughout California., as well as Anchorage, and in Adult Rehabilitation Centers in California and Hawaii. He currently serves as director of rehabilitation services at the Long Beach Adult Rehabilitation Center.
“I am proud to fellowship with men and women who stand in the ranks of The Salvation Army as soldiers and some as officers, where a seed planted or watered or the guidance to avoid weeds was acknowledged and God called them out to righteous living,” he said. “To think that I may have had a part in that makes me proud.”
Reyes said the world is much different today than when he was commissioned.
“The Salvation Army has changed with computers, central accounting and more, but the purpose for which it was raised by God remains the same—to preach the Gospel, love the unlovable, and serve suffering humanity in the name of Christ,” Reyes said. “Being an officer in The salvation Army means the same today as it did upon my commissioning, only now I have experience.”
To new officers, Reyes said: “Stay with it. Maybe your tour of ministry is on one of those unpleasant journeys right now…. Bumpy roads come with the territory, and long, hard journeys appear to be part of life’s DNA. I’m always impressed by fellow travelers who’ve ‘fought the good fight’ and ‘finished the course,’ who didn’t ‘grow weary in well doing,’ who ‘ran with endurance the race set before them.’ Be encouraged because rough roads lead to places you’ll be glad you visited.”
His life verse: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:4-7)