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To Serve, To Protect, To Love

SA-Nashville volunteers Debi and Tom Thomas at Ground Zero

When someone’s heart hurts, when they grieve, when they feel lost, The Salvation Army is there!  When one needs shelter from the storm, a hand up from the ground, a warm embrace and encouraging words, The Salvation Army is there.  When one seeks a solution, The Salvation Army is there with a hand pointed upward; sharing that Jesus is the answer.  John 14:6, “…I am the way and the truth and the life……”

As we reflect on the anniversary of 9/11/01 when so many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives in the WTC, Shanksville, PA and at the Pentagon, we remember and pray for the loss but rejoice with the found; the ones who were rescued, the ones who lived to share their testimony and have made it their mission to serve others, to make every precious moment count.  We also celebrate the strong American spirit, the hard work done by our many communities who pulled together and helped each other out of the rubble; the darkness of the hour and rise to the start of a new day!

On that day and for weeks and years following, The Salvation Army was present at Ground Zero, Shanksville, PA and was the only agency to serve inside the roped off areas near the Pentagon versus stationed in the outer perimeter.  The biggest need in all three areas was prayer and this was provided by officers, staff and committed volunteers who poured many hours into the many souls who came over seeking spiritual care.

At Ground Zero, Firefighters, Port Authority officers, Police Officers, EMS and everyone else who was trying desperately to sift through hot coals and ashes looking for survivors were experiencing aching and burning feet.  The Salvation Army rose to the call and Major Molly Schotzberger along with many other Salvation Army staff quickly got down on their hands and knees and without a second thought, removed the boots off those who were tirelessly working Ground Zero.  Next, they would strip off the wet socks, clean their feet, dust them with baby powder, provide them with clean socks and assist them into their boots before sending them back into the extreme conditions.  This was a beautiful example of a servants heart and exemplifies the mission of The Salvation Army day in and day out! John 13:5, “After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (14-15) “….you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you….”

I am honored to be a part of an organization that selflessly serves Others no matter the situation, no matter the risk!  At a moments notice, this “Army” is on the front lines and the battlefield to protect and to love those who have been struck down by circumstances of this world.  We do not flee, we do not hide and we do not quit.  We are here to help, To Serve (both mind, body and soul through prayer, meals and clothes), To Protect (those from the words and thoughts that haunt them, the untruths that have been shared with them that they have no future, they have no hope), To Love (be a listener, allowing them to share their fears, their dreams and to embrace them when they feel alone; to hold their hand when they don’t know what to do and to walk alongside them when they aren’t sure where to go).

It’s all about Others!  Galatians 5:13-14, “……rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

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