Lawton Serves “The Holy City”

APRIL 15, 2014 – LAWTON, OKLAHOMA (photos by Kahealani Dingle)

LawtonHoly3Deep in the heart of a wildlife refuge lies a replica of Israel, designed to look as it did in Biblical times, called The Holy City of the Wichitas. Its façade is made of worn bricks. The backdrop is the Wichita Mountains. Though it is isolated off of the edge of town, tens of thousands of visitors travel to sit on the side of the mountain to witness an annual Easter Pageant that takes place within the Holy City’s stage. The Pageant tells the story of Jesus, and has been a popular attraction since 1939.

Patrons who attend the play have the option to eat at food vendor trucks that set up on the side of the viewing area, but the cast and crew of the pageant are often left to find food of their own before or after show time. To solve this, the Holy City’s Producers reached out to The Salvation Army of Lawton to see if they would be willing to bring a canteen out to the site, exclusively for the actors and crew members participating in the event.


Lt. Israel Roseno, Corps Officer in Lawton, gladly accepted the request.

Loaded with hot dogs and beverages, Lt. Roseno drove The Salvation Army Canteen into the Wichita Mountains and arrived to a hungry cast of over 200 people. Alongside him, volunteers from the corps quickly prepped the meals to begin the four hour dinner service, where over 300 hot dogs and 230 drinks were served to the Pageant’s actors and staff free of charge.

In the Bible, Jesus said that ‘the last shall be first, and the first shall be last’, and the actor who portrayed Jesus in the Pageant made sure that the entire cast was served their meals before stepping into the final place in line.


The Salvation Army of Lawton will also be serving the Holy City of the Wichitas Easter Pageant at its final performance on April 19th.

For more information on The Salvation Army of Lawton, visit

Live Right! A-OK 2014 Youth Councils


AOKYC143In a ‘world gone wrong’, over 300 young people from the Arkansas and Oklahoma Division had the opportunity to hear teachings on how to ‘Live Right’ and what that means and looks like in their lives during the 2014 Youth Councils.

Youth Councils, an annual event, gives the opportunity for youth ages 13 and up from the Division to spend a weekend at Camp Heart O’ Hills. During the course of the three day conference, delegates attend keynotes sessions with contemporary art elements, attend special breakout sessions that cover a wide variety of topics, and also enjoy a time of fun and fellowship. The ultimate goal of Youth Councils is to bring delegates into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Special guest Steve Carter, Director of Evangelism at Willow Creek Community Church, presented the gospel to the young people of the AOK Division each day of the weekend retreat. Inspired by the 2014 theme ‘Live Right’, Carter spoke the wisdom and truth of the Gospel, and the delegates held on to each word that was delivered during the keynotes.

AOKYC142Also taking place during the weekend was the Corps Cadet Certificate Ceremony and Graduation. Twenty-one Level 1 Certificates and twelve Level 2 Certificates were presented on Saturday morning, followed by the graduation of six Corps Cadets who were each given a Bible along with their diploma.

The newly appointed Territorial Commander to the USA Southern Territory, Commissioner Don Bell, made his first visit to Camp Heart O’ Hills during the AOK Youth Councils. While serving in many leadership capacities during the weekend, Commissioner Bell delivered a keynote to the delegates following the Corps Cadet ceremonies, encouraging the youth of the Division to ‘Live Right’.AOKYC141

Other highlights from the weekend included a concert by hip-hop artist Andy Mineo, house music from DJ Promote, and a Saturday night block party that included complimentary food trucks, inflatable games and even a foam pit dance party.

For more information on the Arkansas & Oklahoma Youth Department, visit them on Facebook.

Topping Out Hope Celebration

April 9th, 2014 – Oklahoma City, OK


The sound of cheers and party horns filled the air Wednesday morning as the Central Oklahoma Area Command celebrated the placing of the final beam at the new Chesapeake Energy Center of Hope. The state-of-the-art, 50,000square foot facility has been under construction since June of 2013, and is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2014.

Area Command employees, advisory board members and the general public were in attendance for the ‘Topping Out Hope Celebration” ceremony. Upon arrival, everyone was invited to write a message of hope and place their signature on the steel crossbeam. The program opened as Captain Carlyle Gargis, Central Oklahoma Area Commander, welcomed the crowd who had gathered, followed by words of hope and inspiration from Advisory Board Member Hans Herman Thun III.


The Center of Hope will be a new building complex placing major Salvation Army programs and services together for a one-stop location to provide comprehensive family, community, and social services. This beautiful 26-acre, campus-like setting  provides for future expansion and growth. The Center of Hope will include designated space for social services; emergency shelters for men, women and children; food pantry; community outreach and an administrative center for The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command.

At the conclusion of the event, Jeff Lara, Director of Operations & Programs, led a tour of the Center of Hope construction site, which offered a first-look to the Area Command employees into their new office complex. On hand for the tour was Arkansas-Oklahoma Divisional Commander, Major Steve Morris, who offered his congratulations and approval of the great work that was being accomplished at the construction site.


For more information on the Oklahoma City Center of Hope, visit the Central Oklahoma Area Command online at

Continuing to Serve in Camden, AR

The El Dorado Salvation Army continues to respond in Camden, Arkansas after severe weather impacted the region on Thursday evening.    Power outages continue with street lights and stop lights out in the entire area causing danger to drivers and residents in the impacted area.   The City estimates power should be restored by late Sunday evening.

Reports estimate 13 homes were destroyed, five homes received major damage with the high school sustaining tremendous damage.   Teachers, students, members of the baseball and football teams are just a sample of the persons receiving meals and hydration from The Salvation Army.

Captain NaKisha Carr, El Dorado Corps Officer, reports there is a tremendous team effort at work this weekend.   The Salvation Army’s Youth Councils are being held at Camp Heart O’Hills in Tahlequah taking part of the El Dorado staff.   In the meantime, numerous employees, key volunteers, and soldiers from the El Dorado Corps (church) are helping to keep the daily operations going in El Dorado while 24 hour around the clock disaster response continues in Camden.

shot of canteensThe El Dorado Salvation Army is extremely grateful to Pine Bluff Salvation Army for the loan of their larger mobile feeding unit.   With both the El Dorado and Pine Bluff canteens available, the Pine Bluff canteen is now parked at thecorner of Cash and California providing service 24 hours a day.   Hot meals are being served three times a day with a special feeding after midnight to the service providers working around the clock to restore electricity to the area.   The El Dorado unit is roving in the affected areas beginning approximately 6 AM until 6 PM so as to adhere to the enforced curfew.

Incidentally, emergency disaster response training was held at Camp Heart O’Hills a couple of weeks ago.   Captain Carr reports three of the four who attended the training are actively using the skills and lessons learned during the recent training.

Over 400 meals, drinks and snacks have been served in addition to 200 sack lunches.  The Salvation Army will continue to provide food and hydration as long as there is a need.

Central Oklahoma Finds Record Generosity

Central Oklahomans gave more each day in the The Salvation Army Christmas Red Kettle than ever before. The average daily income for The Salvation Army Red Kettles in 2013 was more than $22,000 up from $17,000 in 2012.

“We are so grateful for Oklahomans who stepped up and gave during this season when we needed it the most,” says Captain Carlyle Gargis, Area Commander for The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command. “With less bell ringing days due to weather and a late Thanksgiving, we were praying for a miracle.”

2013 The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign
Central Oklahoma Area Command
Canadian County $29,327.44
Cleveland County $131,068.73
Oklahoma County $313,375.96
Paycom Donation $56,100.00 $3,330.00
Gold Coin and Trinkets $1,805.00
GRAND TOTAL $535,007.13

Last year, The Salvation Army had a total of 38 full bell ringing days. This year, only 24 full bell ringing days were available due to the harsh wintery weather conditions and a late Thanksgiving calendar date.

“The total raised for this year’s Central Oklahoma Area Command’s Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign is $535,007, and we are so grateful,” said Captain Gargis. “If we had the same time as last year to ring bells, we would have met, and even surpassed last year’s record-breaking campaign income of more than $600,000. Oklahomans were more generous than ever this Christmas!   These funds help us stock the organization’s food pantry, youth programs, outreach ministries, and other emergency needs.”

Oklahomans not only gave of their resources this year, they also gave of their time.   To provide Christmas assistance in 2013, the total number of volunteer hours required was 11,948, fulfilled by 4,553 volunteers.

Christmas Volunteers 2013
Volunteers 4,553
Volunteer Hours 11,948

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program was able to assist more than 2,000 households, and 9,052 individuals.   Donations and funds raised were used to provide area families with a Christmas food box and gifts for children and seniors.

“This year, Oklahomans provided the finest, quality gifts ever,” said Captain Charlotte Gargis, Associate Area Commander.   “We have received an abundance of ‘thanks yous’ and hugs from families who experienced the joy of Christmas by your generosity.   Because of Oklahomans generosity this Christmas season, these funds will continue to meet on-going needs thoughout the year.   As we say, ‘Need knows no season. Please know that your giving was appreciated and truly made a difference this Christmas and beyond.   Thank you for remembering those who are lost, lonely and sometimes forgotten.”

Nearly 100 Red Kettle locations were set up at various Central Oklahoma area businesses to collect donations though December 24. Those locations included Homeland, Wal-mart, Hobby Lobby, Bass Pro Shops and more.

The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma provides services in three counties, including Oklahoma County, Cleveland County and Canadian County.

“The Salvation Army in Central Oklahoma is helping those in need, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day,” said Captain Carlyle Gargis.   “There are more demands than we can meet, but with the community’s continued support year round, we are able to provide relief from suffering and set a course for transformed lives.”

Stillwater Thanks Their Volunteers

The Salvation Army of Stillwater, OK wants to thank you for helping make the Christmas season a very joyous occasion for 512 children and senior adults in Stillwater, Payne and Noble Counties.  An additional 432 benefitted from the food boxes provided to each household.  We would not be able to serve so many without your help – whether it is as time, talent, or resources.

Thank you to:

  • Noon Kiwanis, OSU Home Mom’s (Kappa Sigma), First Assembly of God, Charley Neely, Hunter Robinson, Payne County 4H, Noon Lions, Eagle Heights Baptist Church, Troy Williamson, Delta Sigma Pi, First Church of Nazarene, Freda & Richard Lyle, SHS Beta Club, Richard Eggermen,the Adult Sunday School of University Heights Baptist, and the Methodist Men, and many individuals that helped these groups to keep the bells ringing.
  • Special thanks to Eagle Heights Baptist Church who rang the most hours for a group and raised $1,459.53!  The Methodist Men rang 27 hours but also raised $1,486.20! The individual volunteer who rang the most hours was Troy Williamson with 97 hours and raised over $4,200!
  • A BIG Thank you to our Kettle Stand sponsors:  Harrison Electric, Shamblin Rentals, Stillwater Milling Company, Advanced Chiropractic, Dr. Stephanie Kendrick, D.D.S., Merrifeld Office Supply, Cushing Veternariary Clinic, L.L.C., VMI Inc., and Baker Pharmacy.  Thank you to each of these businesses for their generosity!
  • In addition to all the bell ringing, we also had several businesses and groups that hosted an Angel Tree site.  We appreciate these business for making the angels accessible for individuals to adopt and purchase the gifts.  Thank you to Atwoods Ranch & Home, Casner Student Council-OSU, CATOs, Countryside Baptist Church, Glo Salon, IBC Bank, JCPenney, Old Navy, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Stillwater Bible Church, Stillwater Junior High, USDA Food Bank, Walgreens, Walls Bargain Cener, Wal-Mart on Perkins Road and Your Hair Rocks!
  •  Much thanks go to Shawnee High School National Honor Society and the “Singing” Baseball team who volunteered their afternoons to unload canned goods, make boxes and fill them for 302 families so that these families could have a Christmas dinner.
  •  In addition, there were numerous volunteers who assisted with taking applications, preparing the angel tags, and processing the angels as they came in & helping recipients to carry the gifts, bicycles and food boxes out to their cars on Distribution Day.  We could not have had such a successful day if it had not been for all these volunteers, their wonderful, cheery attitudes and strong backs!

And to your wonderfully supportive Advisory Board – Henry Siems, outgoing Chairman, Michelle Charles, Deborah Deal, Norm McNickle, Denise Strickland, Mark Wagner, Minda Wilson and Rob Woods – you all are the best!  Thank you for your dedication to serve, your words of encouragement and your presence when we need you!  It is an honor to serve along side you!

Your dedication to the persons in need in our community was very evident in the results of our Christmas campaign.   Our goal for Christmas 2013 was $60,000 and in spite of having fewer days to ring bells and the bitter cold we were able to raise $ 51,785.73 thanks to you!

Again, our heartfelt thanks to all of The Salvation Army supporters!   With your continued support, we will continue to honor our promise of Doing The Most Good for those in the most need throughout the coming year.

Farnham Family Donates $104,600

The Salvation Army of Ada, alongside five other organizations, was the beneficiary of a generous gift from the Farnham Family Trust on December 12, 2013.

“On behalf of my father and mother — Jerry and Mamie Farnham — and my family, including my brother, Mark Farnham, my husband, Dr. Charles Nicolet, and our daughter, Emily Nicolet, I am grateful for the opportunity to acknowledge this distribution of the Farnham Family Trust funds to the six institutions that have meant so much to my father and mother and the Farnham family,” Dr. Peggy Farnham said in written statement.

The Farnham Family Trust evenly distributed $627,600 to the organizations, bringing the donation for The Salvation Army to a total of $104,600.

The Salvation Army wishes to express their overwhelming gratitude to the Farnham Family for their generous donation, and looks forward to using the funds to carry on the Farnham legacy of caring for and serving the people and communities of Ada, Oklahoma.

Cherokee Brass Tours Mountain Home

Story by Jimmy Cox

Cherokee Brass toured Mountain Home, AR over Labor Day weekend. The band did a series of concerts in the community, culminating in a worship service at the Mountain Home corps. They represented the division, the Mountain Home corps, and The Salvation Army very well.

This tour was scheduled to take place over Memorial Day weekend, but was rescheduled due to the tornadoes that struck central Oklahoma. Major’s Poff worked very hard along with the music department to get this rescheduled over Labor Day weekend, and the majority of the band was able to work this into their schedules as well!

The first concert was an outdoor event Friday night at the city square. The band played a full concert, and had a great turnout! There were nearly a 150 people from the community in attendance. Cherokee Brass was the only group performing, so everyone was there solely to see the band. Major Johnny Poff gave the devotion this evening.

CB1The next morning, the band got to tour the visitor center at Bull Shoals, AR, just outside of Mountain Home. They had a good time taking a break from playing and getting to know more about the area. Afterwards, they played an afternoon concert at Cooper Park on the White River.

Saturday Night, the band played a concert of worship at the First Assembly of God church. The chapel was a beautiful place to play, and the people of the church were very welcoming. The first set featured the band, youth chorus, praise band, and drama. Cherokee Brass ended the set with Fantastic Discovery  (Redhead).

After intermission, the evening took on a more meditative tone. The band led the congregation in Holy Holy Holy, and played several other selections. After the chorus sangTake Time to be Holy (Fettke) , we were led in a devotion by DMD Andrew Barrington. He spoke on the importance of having a faith with deep roots. The band then played Take Time to be Holy  (Sharmin). The evening finished with Amazing Race (Mackereth).

Sunday Morning Cherokee Brass joined in worship with the Mountain Home corps. The band served its most important function on this day, as they were the duty band for the Holiness Meeting. The young people provided the music, scripture reading, prayer, Praise and Worship, band selections, and congregation accompaniment for the meeting.

For more information on Cherokee Brass, or The Salvation Army music programs, visit

New National & Territorial Leadership

The Salvation Army is pleased to announce the following appointments:

Commissioners David & Barbara Jeffrey, officers of the USA Southern Territoriy, have been appointed as the national leaders of The Salvation Army in the United States of America. Commissioner David Jeffrey is appointed as National Commander, and Commissioner Barbara Jeffrey as National President of Women’s Ministries.

Commissioners Donald and Debora Bell, officers of the USA Western Territory, have been appointed as territorial leaders of the USA Southern Territory. Commissioner Donald Bell is appointed as Territorial Commander, USA Southern Territory, and Commissioner Debora Bell as Territorial President of Women’s Ministries.


Target Stores Provide Back To School Shopping Experience