Central Oklahoma Fan Drive a Success

Roc2During the months of June, July and August, The Salvation Army sees an increased number of people who look for financial assistance to pay their utility bills. Thankfully, The Salvation Army is approached by many businesses and partners who look to help provide relief to families who struggle to make ends meet during the summer months. In Central Oklahoma, there has been a partnership that has become an annual social event, held in the name of helping their neighbors ‘beat the heat’.

Roc3KFOR’s Scott Hines, Rococo’s Bruce Rinehart and the Bricktown Rotary association have partnered together with The Salvation Army to host an annual Fan Drive. Inciting the public with Chef Rinehart’s famous ‘cookies’, each person who comes to Rococos with a new box fan receives a coupon for the delicious appetizer.  During the four hour fundraiser, Scott Hines broadcasts live from the restaurant, encouraging the public to come out and participate in the event.

Roc1At the end of the day, 77 fans, along with $111 was collected. These fans and the funds that were received are added to the fans donated by OG+E, Westlake Ace Hardware, and other donors, and are given away to the elderly, families with infants, and the disabled.

For more information on the summer Fan Drive, please contact (405) 246-1060.

Lawton BGCA Kids “Eat More Chicken”

chick1The Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club in Lawton recently had the opportunity to ‘Eat More Chicken” thanks to a generous fundraising opportunity by Chick-Fil-A at Central Mall.

On select days in early June, customers at Chick-Fil-A were given the opportunity to purchase a sandwich that would be donated to The Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club. Throughout the promotion, over 100 sandwiches were purchased to help feed the kids a special lunch.

chick2Tuesday, June 24th, the kids at the Club were assembled in the gymnasium as they always are before lunch time. While the club director was giving instructions and announcements, a surprise visitor entered from the side of the room – none other than the famous Chick-Fil-A Cow. The children erupted in cheers and laughter as the cow made its way through the gym, high-fiving and posing for photographs with the kids. After the cow ‘meet and greet’, lunch was served, and each child at the Boys & Girls Club was served a hot Chick-Fil-A sandwich.

chick3The Salvation Army of Lawton would like to extend a special thank you to the Chick-Fil-A of Central Mall for their support and donation.

For more information about The Salvation Army’s Boys & Girls Club in Lawton, visit www.salvationarmylawton.org

OG+E Donates 200 Fans in Central Oklahoma

OGE1Oklahoma is no stranger to heat. However, with elevated temperatures come higher utility costs, adding a financial burden on many Oklahomans. This often leaves families with a difficult decision: pay for air conditioning, or pay for food and rent. More and more, the choice is to face the summer heat without a source of cool air. The Salvation Army wants to be a provider of relief to families who are facing extreme temperatures, and with the help of OG&E, we are able to provide a box fan for many families in need.

OGE2On Tuesday, June 24th, OG&E stopped by The Salvation Army’s Central Oklahoma Area Command with a very special delivery of 200 box fans to be distributed to those in need. Kathleen O’Shea, a spokesperson for OG&E, notes that “[OG&E] knows so many people struggle during the summer, so we are happy to partner with The Salvation Army by providing fans to those in need.”

OGE3Major Carlyle Gargis, Area Commander for Central Oklahoma, was on hand to receive the fans on Tuesday, and give thanks on behalf of The Salvation Army. “We could not help in this capacity without partners like OG&E,” says Major Gargis. “Because of [OG&E’s] generous donation, The Salvation Army is prepared today to assist families who are struggling in Oklahoma.”

For more information on the fan distribution, contact The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma at 405-246-1100.

A-OK Division Building ‘Bridges’


Bridges3The Salvation Army is known to many as a last-resort when it comes to paying utility bills, rent or other costly expenses that are incurred in today’s world. Looking to ease the need for people to search for financial assistance, The Salvation Army recently launched the Bridges Out of Poverty initiative to help people break the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. Picking up steam, The Salvation Army’s Arkansas & Oklahoma Division has launched the program in 12 locations, with several more scheduled to launch within the year.

Gaining the attention of local leaders and businesses, The Salvation Army of Shawnee, Oklahoma was recently the recipient of a $220,000 grant from the Avedis Foundation, specifically designated for the Bridges Initiative, which will be spent over the course of 3 years. The funding will allow The Salvation Army to hire a new employee that will be in charge of the Bridges Out of Poverty program in Shawnee, as well as cover the cost of as many trainings andmaterials as possible.

Excited about the launch of the program in his community, Lt. Philip Canning, Corps Officer in Shawnee notes that “the most exciting thing about it all is the realization that we’re bringing the whole community together to address real issues that people have known are a problem, but no one has been able to step up to the plate – and we’re going to do that.”


The Oklahoma Department of Human Services office has also noted the launch of the initiative within The Salvation Army’s Arkansas & Oklahoma Division, and recently recognized the Divisional Social Services Director Debbie Price as a community partner during the DHS Awards Ceremony. Her award was given in recognition of her work within Bridges Out of Poverty.

Gazing Into God’s Mirror: Women’s Retreat 2014

From every corner of the Division, over 300 ladies from Arkansas & Oklahoma travelled to Camp Heart O’ Hills to take part in the 2014 Women’s Retreat. The annual event allows women of all ages to come together for a time of worship and relaxation.

This year’s theme was intentionally designed to point delegates to the beauty that God sees in each one of them, and that self perception is a tool of ‘the world’ that leaves an emptiness that only He can fill.

Breakout sessions provided opportunity to “Gaze Into God’s Mirror”, utilizing prayer, bible study, creativity and music. For an afternoon of leisure, the ladies were treated to games of bingo, massages, and for those who cared to shop, a country store was open for business.

Throughout the weekend, delegates heard from two very gifted guests. Allison Allen, a Christian actress and author, shared her life journey, demonstrating God’s redemption. Singer and songwriter Laura Cooksey shared how God opened doors through her gift of music.  During each of their presentations, they shared life experiences, God’s healing and blessing and how God opens doors for them to bless others.

A special offering was collected on Sunday for the Mexico Children’s Home, and centerpieces provided by each Corps were auctioned off, raising over $2600 towards the World Services Mission.

At the conclusion of the retreat, when asked for one word descriptions of retreat, delegates shared feelings of joy, blessing, friendship and relaxation – exactly what the retreat was meant to instill in each lady who was in attendance.

Logan County Wildfire Update

The Arkansas-Oklahoma Division of The Salvation Army is responding to a very large wildfire that is affecting many in Logan County.   Record temperatures, drought and strong winds are causing extreme fire danger to much of Oklahoma.  The wildfire, which began on Sunday has reportedly burned over 3,000 acres and is responsible for one fatality.  At least 30 structures have been destroyed.

Stillwater:   As recent as last Thursday, the Stillwater Salvation Army was assigned a canteen.   It provides a wonderful tool to not only assist during times of disaster but also as a ministry tool.  The Stillwater Officers, as well as an employee and Advisory Board member just recently attended Emergency Disaster Services training at Camp Heart O’Hills.

Captain Patrishia Knott, Stillwater Salvation Army Officers, reports their team was called last night and asked to deploy early this morning.  She states “It was exciting to put the canteen and our training to use so soon.  The canteen is still so new to us; we were unpacking the coffee pot on the way!   The responders were exhausted this morning, it was an honor to be able to offer a bottle of water, Gatorade, hot coffee, a hot breakfast or snack to those working so hard to put out the fires.  And, it was fun writing The Salvation Army Stillwater on the brand new ice chests and equipment!”  The Stillwater canteen was asked to provide breakfast to those sheltered by American Red Cross as well as first responders.

Central Oklahoma Area Command:    The Central Oklahoma Area Command (COAC) has also been deployed to serve lunch and dinner.   COAC’s new Emergency Disaster Coordinator, Kenny Kelly, is gaining experience quickly.  He was deployed to Arkansas last week to assist with tornado response and today he is overseeing his unit’s response to the wildfire.    Kenny brought a full crew of volunteers plus himself and another employee.   We appreciate our volunteers and couldn’t do it without them!

The Salvation Army is working closely with Emergency Management to ensure the response is closely coordinated with multiple partners.   The Army is also coordinating feeding efforts with the American Red Cross and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.  The Army’s EDS teams will remain on site as long as requested.

Additional updates will be provided as necessary.

Sue Nelson Honored as “Friend of Youth”

Story and Photos by Kendi Cox

SHAWNEE, OK – On Tuesday, April 15th, The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Shawnee held its 17th Annual Don Bodard Friend of Youth Award Banquet, honoring Sue Nelson as this year’s recipient.

Past RecipentsThe Don Bodard Friend of Youth Award was established in 1998 to honor leaders who have made a difference in the lives of young people.  It was named in honor of the late Don Bodard, along with his wife, Nancy, who have been supporters of The Salvation Army for many years, as well as other youth programs in Shawnee.  The Bodards have been very concerned about the Boys & Girls Club and its effect on youth in our community.  Mr. Bodard had a special commitment to the youth of Shawnee, and it was his desire that  youth, especially those in at-risk situations, would have a safe place to play after school and receive wholesome values as they grow up. It was natural to name this award after him.

Sue Nelson was nominated and received this award for her countless hours of volunteer work with the Salvation Army of Shawnee, serving on both the Advisory Board and Women’s Auxiliary, her volunteer work with the International Youth Finals Rodeo (IFYR) and Junior Livestock shows, and for the over 100 “adopted” grandchildren she mentors. She sacrifices of herself and goes above and beyond for everyone, especially the youth in Shawnee, which made her the perfect candidate for this award. The Salvation Army is honored to have Sue as a part of our organization, as she is a constant reminder of what “Doing the Most Good” is really about.

Ribbon CuttingThe Annual Banquet this year also served as a Grand Re-opening for The Boys and Girls Club of Shawnee.  The Avedis Foundation granted The Boys & Girls Club $55,000 in 2013 to fund air conditioning in the gymnasium and a remodel of the existing Club.

Arkansas Response Update 5/1/14

Mobile Feeding Units continue to provide food, hydration and emotional and spiritual care to those affected by the tornadoes that swept through Central Arkansas on Sunday evening.

National Weather Service officials announced today the tornado started West of Ferndale and ended in El Paso.  It was on the ground for 41.3 miles and lasted over an hour. This tornado was at maximum strength near Downtown Vilonia.  Information on the EF-4 rating states that its winds are estimated at 166-200 miles per hour.

Homes and businesses throughout Faulkner County and West Pulaski County suffered serious and at times, catastrophic damage.   Captain David Robinson, Corps Officer of The Conway Salvation Army states “Down each of these roads is a home or a neighborhood that is struggling to rebuild.  We want them to know that we are here for them for as long as we are needed.”

On one stop, there was a home completely devastated and abandoned, and another with roof damage, downed trees, and destroyed vehicles.  Salvation Army feeding teams found a group of neighbors helping the residents’ clear away brush and collect the family’s personal items that littered the yard.  Captain Robinson embraced the family with prayer and gave the group a much needed meal.

As of this Wednesday night, The Salvation Army has provided 3,642 prepared meals, 4,065 drinks and 2,304 snacks.  Over 80 individuals/families have been provided emotional and spiritual care.

On Thursday, The Salvation Army will deploy five canteens to the following locations:

  •  West Little Rock – Kanis Command Post, 34106 Kanis Road
  •  2 roving canteens servicing affected areas in Vilonia and 2 roving canteen serving affected area in Mayflower


Volunteers: There are two Volunteer Reception Centers (VRCs) now open in Faulkner County:

Vilonia Primary School
#4 Bane Lane
Conway, AR
Phone:  501-796-2081

Mayflower High
10 Leslie King Drive
Mayflower, AR
Phone: 501-470-0388


Monetary donations continue to be the most critical need.

  • Donors are encouraged to give online at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
  • You can also text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone; to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes.”*
  • https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/uss/april2014
  • Donations in the form of checks designated to Tornado Relief may also be mailed to:

The Salvation Army Disaster Relief
P.O. Box 1959
Atlanta, GA 30301

A Weekend of Memories

Scrap3The Scrapbook Retreat began on Thursday evening for 136 delegates plus staff with devotions led by special guest, Major Melody McClure. Lt. Betty Price and Captain NaKisha Carr kept the beats going for Scrapping until the wee hours of the morning.  Spa Service was available as well as signups for skill classes.

Skill classes included Power Layout, Beginner Scrapbooking / Cards, 2 page layout-intermediate, Faith – home décor, candle decorating, mini albums and more!

It was only fitting the World Day of Prayer would be celebrated during the AOK Division’s Scrapbook Retreat held March 6-9 at Camp Heart O’Hills.  Devotions were led by special guest, Major Melody McClure, where she asked everyone to think about – who is their Master?  Following devotions, everyone was provided an opportunity to meditate and pray.  Additional officers including Lt. Chelsea Sebo, Major Tina McBride, Lt. Teresa Biddix and Lt. Angela Sadler led a powerful prayer time, with beautiful scripture as well as an encouragement to have all in the room to pray out loud.


On Saturday evening, Major Melody McClure talked about transformation into Holiness.  She explained that we are all called to be like Jesus, and that conforming doesn’t mean you have to give up yourself – you can still love the Lord.  He just asks us to be like Him.  Holiness is about masterful living and living by God’s standard.  Major Melody asked everyone to pray “Lord just make me like you.”

On Sunday, the Holiness Meeting was full of praise, prayer, and the pursuit of holiness.  Major Wendy Morris, Director of Women’s Ministries, asked the ladies to participate in one more crafting project.  Each lady was provided with letters to spell out “Holiness.” The ladies then spelled out the word vertically on the paper provided for their last craft. They were to fill out each line with the way the planned to put feet and action to what holy living looks like to each. A square with scripture (Romans 8:28:  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose) was provided for their project as well.


The final challenge to the ladies as they finished a wonderful and blessed weekend:  “Take as much time and care in creating our relationship with the Lord as we do with our crafts.”

(story and photos by Cindy Fuller)

Northwest Arkansas 2014 Annual Banquet a Success

NWABanquet3The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas held its 2014 Annual Banquet on Tuesday, gathering over 400 donors, volunteers, advisory board members and supporters for an evening of celebration and inspiration.

An hour before the program began, attendees were invited to a meet and greet reception with the area officers and distinguished guests. During the time of fellowship, a silent auction took place where autographed sports and movie memorabilia were available to bid on.


The event opened with KNWA anchor and emcee Marissa Kargas who introduced a trio of videos that told the story of clients who had been helped directly by The Salvation Army’s Northwest Arkansas Area Command. The subjects of the videos, who were in attendance, were recognized and greeted by a chorus of applause.

Headlining the Annual Banquet was special guest speaker Charlotte Jones Anderson, National Advisory Board Chairman. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Charlotte Jones Anderson went on to become the Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer for the Dallas Cowboys. Her role with the Cowboys allowed her to introduce a groundbreaking approach to fund-raising through the Army’s Red Kettle program with the annual Red Kettle Campaign Kickoff Halftime Show each Thanksgiving. Through the Halftime Show, the Dallas Cowboys and The Salvation Army partner together to present a nationally recognized musical entertainer who preforms a show that pivots around the Red Kettle theme. Since the launch of the Red Kettle Kickoff Halftime Show in 1997, the Red Kettle has raised over 1.8 billion dollars.

NWABanquet1As Charlotte Jones Anderson addressed the audience, she spoke on the longstanding partnership of integrity and trust between the Dallas Cowboys and The Salvation Army. As she chairs the National Advisory Board, Anderson continually speaks to audiences about the need for helping hands, not only during Christmas, but all year long. As her speech came to a close, Anderson appealed to the people of Northwest Arkansas to get involved with The Salvation Army, adding that “compassion is not a spectator sport, everyone has to play.”

NWABanquet4Bringing the event to a close was the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year and Business Partner of the Year. The Volunteer of the Year Award was given posthumous to a Wilbert Barbian who had volunteered 40 or more hours for over eight consecutive years. The Business Partner of the Year Award was presented to Tyson Foods, who has supported The Salvation Army in Northwest Arkansas for over 20 years.

For more information on The Salvation Army’s Northwest Arkansas Area Command, visit them online at http://salvationarmyaok.org/nwarkansas