Salvation Army planning civic dinner

STEUBENVILLE – On the heels of what was a busy holiday season with ongoing demonstrations of the public’s generosity to help others in need, the Salvation Army of Jefferson County now sets its sights on an event that largely centers around two words – “thank you.”

The Salvation Army’s annual civic dinner will be held March 31 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville, with the social hour at 5:30 p.m. and dinner beginning at 6 p.m.

The event will be an occasion to salute the help of individuals, businesses and the public at large – chief among them Toronto resident Dave Maple, a Jefferson County commissioner who will be presented the prestigious Others Award, the Salvation Army’s highest national civic award.

Other honorees will include Jean White and Kathryn Bonham, who will be singled out as Volunteers of the Year.

Tickets are $35 per person, available by calling the Salvation Army at (740) 282-5121 or by sending a check payable to the Salvation Army of Jefferson County to P.O. Box 1226, Steubenville, OH 43952. March 15 is the reservation deadline.

Typically, the combination appreciation and fundraiser banquet has been held in September but moves earlier on the calendar this year as Capts. Steve and Dolly Griffin cycle through their first year of service as commanding officers, having come on board in late June 2013.

The banquet comes during a special time as well for the local Salvation Army unit, which is celebrating 130 years of service to Steubenville and Jefferson County, according to the Griffins, who have expressed gratitude for what blessings 2013 has brought and optimism for the new year.

Maple said he is both humbled and honored at being tapped for the Others Award, with past recipients including Barb Wilinski, Patricia Fletcher, Vicki Littlejohn, Dr. Himanshu Desai, Laura Meeks, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, the late William Croskey, the late Helen Carrocci, Dave Hindman and Tom Timmons.

Maple said the Salvation Army is important.

“We have a very good community with a lot of groups in our community that are very, very active,” Maple said. “The Salvation Army has always been one of the main players in that, and I’m just pleased that we can play a role in that,” he said of his volunteer service there that also includes his wife, Tricia, and their children, daughter Taylor and son Evan.

“We really got involved with the Salvation Army back when my mother-in-law worked for the Salvation Army, and we just kind of fell into it,” he said, referring to the late Helen Damewood, who was a volunteer.

Thanksgivings in recent years for the Maple family has meant helping deliver holiday meals the Salvation Army prepares to shut-ins throughout Jefferson County. This past Thanksgiving, there were approximately 60 meals delivered.

“We became pretty active in that and primarily one of the things we do is we celebrate our Thanksgiving starting here and assist them in everything they do here on Thanksgiving, and anything they need or want we like to respond to, too,” Maple said.

“It’s a great feeling to help the community, but it’s also been a good thing for my wife and I to get our family involved in it. You see a lot of families here that are volunteering, and it just instills that sense of responsibility and community, too,” he said.

“This recognition is humbling, and I’m very pleased to accept that, and I really do that with my family,” Maple said.

The Others Award is named for William Booth, who started the Salvation Army in 1865. The award was named for a message Booth sent to individual Salvation Army corps during the early 1900s. Because it was expensive to send messages via telegram, Booth kept his message to one word – “others” which was meant to remind Salvation Army members of their mission of service to others.

“The civic dinner is a day where we honor someone from the community, but it’s also a fundraising event,” Capt. Steve Griffin said Thursday. “We’ll be soliciting businesses to help support this and sponsors for this event, but it’s an event for us to thank people, different agencies that help us throughout the year and stores and such that helped us, so it’s to honor a lot of people,” he said.

“It’s a way to thank the community and let a lot of the community at large know what we’re doing, and it is a fundraiser.”