Relief for Van Buren County

AR041513The Salvation Army returned to Botkinburg, Arkansas on Friday to continue meal service to first responders, volunteers and those affected by the tornado that struck the small town on Wednesday evening. Initial assessments indicate 33 homes were damaged, while leaving many homes and businesses without power due to multiple downed power lines in the rural community.

The Salvation Army provided 404 meals, 270 drinks and 348 snacks on Thursday and Friday. The Salvation Army feeding efforts are supported in part by a gift from our partners at Southwest Energy. Lt. Russell Clay reports he served a family who watched the home in front of them and behind them receive heavy damage while their home remained unscathed. Although the family was without power, they were out to help their neighbors as soon as the roads became passable.

2AR041513Another volunteer reports he was out with some first responders out on Hardy Hill (an area heavily hit) where they visited with a 97 year old lady outraking her yard while waiting on assistance for a large downed tree over her well. They were able to provide lunch and pray with her as additional assistance arrived.

Local Emergency Management released The Salvation Army crew on Friday afternoon after a surge of community support from fellow neighbors.


Tahlequah Treated to Brass Band Concert

The A-OK Divisional Band had the opportunity to give a concert at Northside Baptist Church in Tahlequah, Oklahoma on April 6th. They were joined by the Divisional Creative Arts team. The concert was excellent, and was well received by the community! The repertoire for the concert covered a wide range of styles, and included pieces with hymns well known inside and outside the Army. The band and drama were able to connect with the audience in a meaningful way, and the gospel was shared throughout. Though Camp Heart O’ Hills has been just outside of Tahlequah since 1929, this is the first time in recent memory that a music group has done outreach in the community.

Opening the concert was Paul Kellner’s “The Risen Savior.” This gave a lot of energy right from the top, and immediately gave the audience  a tune they  were very familiar with. The band then played several other pieces (full list of repertoire is below), before moving into the drama piece titled “Temptations,” and then a testimony from Lt. Claudia Roseno that centered on God’s love. The first half of the concert concluded with Edward Gregson’s major work, “Variations on Laudate Dominum.”

After intermission, the band opened with Norman Bearcroft’s “Southall One Hundred.” They then got the audience involved with William Himes’s “A Gospel Song Sing Along,” led by Captain Nakisha Carr. From there the concert moved into a section devoted to God’s grace. A scripture reading of Romans 5: 12-21 set up a piece by Bandmaster Andrew Barrington titled “His Glorious Grace.” This was followed by a devotion from the Bandmaster, which led in to “Infinite Grace” by Paul Kellner. The concert concluded on a joyful note with Steve Bulla’s “Lift Up Your Voice.”

Thanks to Northside Baptist Church for having us play in their house of worship. Special thanks to Bandmaster Andrew Barrington and Lt. Israel Roseno for leading the band and creative arts. Also special thanks to Rob and Nancy Wallace who put us in contact with their church to make this concert happen. Rob is the Director of Operations at Camp Heart O’ Hills, and Nancy is Director of Guest Services. They have been excellent supporters of Salvation Army music programs over the years.

For more information on the Brass Band programs of The Salvation Army’s A-OK Division, visit

story by Jimmy Cox