Working to meet every need

Employees answer a call and provide independence.

Dean Shier and Rosa with her new wheelchair.

Not every day in the development department at the Southern California divisional headquarters is just another day at the office.

When staff arrived on a recent morning, they discovered a voice message from Dean Shier, a campus safety security guard at a school in Garden Grove. He asked for a return call but did not specify why he had made contact.

“You are the first organization to return my call,” Shier said when a member of the DHQ staff got in touch with him. He said he had placed numerous calls to local social service organizations in the hopes of finding a new wheelchair for a student at his school.

The student, 14-year-old Rosa, had been paralyzed in a car accident five years ago. Her family could not afford a new wheelchair and the one that she had constantly fell apart. Teachers would often have to stop class to help Rosa readjust her wheelchair, leaving her feeling more self-conscious and ostracized from the other kids.

Though this was not the social services department, two employees heard about Rosa and felt compelled to meet her need. Tracy Golab and Matt Jensen first did a Google search for “free wheelchairs.” Then Matt contacted his own corps, which happened to have one spare wheelchair, so he drove to Huntington Beach after work to meet Shier.

“Wow, that’s like the Cadillac of wheelchairs,” Shier said. “I didn’t expect something that nice!”

This was Shier’s first experience with The Salvation Army. He expressed “shock” that someone would drive to his house and hand over something without any paperwork. Jensen told him about the Army’s motto, “Heart to God, Hand to Man.”

“I’m going to tell everyone I know what The Salvation Army did for me and for Rosa,” Shier said.

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