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Salvation Army thanks its many “soldiers”

THANKED FOR THEIR SERVICE — Leaders of the Brooke County Salvation Army thanked its many volunteers for their efforts at an appreciation dinner Thursday at the Wellsburg Moose Lodge. With Salvation Army Capt. Gene Hunt, third from left, are regular volunteers John Bucy, Jonnie Fuller and Harvey Rubins. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — “We’ve had a good two years. We’ve helped a lot of people in different ways. We were able to do a lot for this community and that doesn’t happen without you,” Salvation Army Capt. Gene Hunt told some of the many volunteers who have aided the charity’s Brooke County Service Center.

Addressing those attending the Salvation Army’s volunteer appreciation dinner Thursday at the Wellsburg Moose Lodge, Hunt said, “We’re all a spoke in the wheel. It takes all of us to turn it.”

“Every time you’ve donated funds, every time you’ve volunteered, every time you’ve advocated for us, you’re just as much the Salvation Army as I am,” he told them.

Hunt, who also oversees the charity’s Hancock County operations, said between the two, 2,973 orders of food were provided to residents in need last year.

He added Brooke and Hancock county residents received aid in other ways, including providing Christmas gifts, coats and other clothing for children; assistance to families and others with their rent, mortgage and utilities; and emergency housing to those forced to leave their homes because of a fire or other circumstances.

Hunt said about 40 households received the latter assistance last year.

He noted residents served by the organization receive vouchers to purchase clothing and other household items at the thrift store at the Salvation Army Center at 401 Commerce St., while proceeds from purchases made by others there go to its food pantry.

Overseeing it all is Barb McConnell, the center’s director and sole employee, which underscores the need for volunteers, said Hunt.

Called up to be recognized for their regular presence at the center were volunteers were Harvey Rubins, Jonnie Fuller and John Bucy.

The three expressed thanks for the opportunity to help and to others involved in the charity’s work.

Fuller said, “I have made a lot of great friends and had an awesome time at Christmas. Working with everybody is awesome. I have a great time.”

Rubins thanked “the Salvation Army for its strong leadership. The Salvation Army has made a difference personally in my life. I thank God and all of you who still do his work.”

Bucy recalled directing local teens who came to the center to sort food and being impressed by their effort. He said he is proud of them and of his community overall for their support.

Hunt also recognized three Brooke High School groups who, as bell ringers for the annual Christmas kettle campaign, tripled the amount raised last year.

They were: the Brooke High School chapter of Health Occupations Students of America, which raised more than $350 under the direction of Melissa Garrett; and the school’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America and its soccer team, which each raised more than $200 under the direction of advisers Adam Haught and Chad Haught and coach Joe Pepe.

Another youth thanked, for her assistance at the center, was Raegan Gibson.

Also acknowledged for their efforts as bell ringers were members of Follansbee Presbyterian Church, Wellsburg Church of the Nazarene and the Foundry, formerly known as Brooke Hills Free Methodist Church.

For their support in various ways, the Brooke County Rotary Club, Wellsburg Kiwanis Club and Wellsburg Lions Club also received kudos.

Hunt also took time to recognize members of the Brooke County Salvation Army’s advisory council, whom he noted have stepped in to pack bags with Christmas gifts and food and groceries for its periodic food distributions.

They are: Janet Tarr, Ken Hart, Judy Fowler, John Schwertfeger, Manuel Markos, Matz Malone, Steve Hlatky, Peggy Miller, Bob Haas, Audrey Bryant, Frank Haas and Rebecca Bell.

Eugene Cipoletti, who served on the board for many years, was acknowledged for the many fellow members for whom he served as mentor.

Hunt said the involvement of each group and individual furthers the Salvation Army’s overall mission.

“Our whole goal is to impact lives in Jesus’ name. Love like Jesus. Every bag of food we hand out, that’s love,” he said, adding, “I want to thank you for sharing the love of Christ. That’s our main goal in everything we do.”

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