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Volume 25, No.13

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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August 12, 2008


(Above) Fred and Charmaine Smith each provide leadership in two Salvation Army ministries
in the Houston Area Command.

(Below) A mother and son meet with care manager Alisha Ashdown (seated at right) and Charmaine Smith, Family Residence director.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Husband-wife team promotes Army mission on dual fronts in Houston

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit Staff

They are The Salvation Army’s version of “Mr. &
Mrs. Smith,” the action/ comedy film starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Fred and Charmaine Smith are a married couple who lead anything but normal lives while working for the Houston Area Command.

“We do not lead an ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ kind of home life – but unlike the couple in the movie, we are not spies,” Charmaine Smith said with a laugh. When they kiss goodbye every morning outside their apartment on the first floor of the Harbor Light Center,

Charmaine drives across town to the Army’s Family Residence complex, where she works as director. Fred Smith walks down the hall to hisoffice, where he makes sure the Harbor Light center runs efficiently and effectively.
The couple has been married for 29 years; with one
grown daughter, Chelsea. They consider themselves “urban missionaries.”

Page Three:
Merger in Louisville
Page Seven:
A Place for the homeless






























Smiths pack 1-2 punch for Army in Houston
Continued from above.

and healing for single women, with and without children. A capacity of about 100, the program
accommodates up to 40 women and from 50-70 children. They’ve handled as many as 30 families at one point. Calling her program “more than ‘three hots and a cot,’” she and her staff handle multiple issues daily, helping women and families deal with drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and abandonment.

Meanwhile, back at the Harbor Light Center, Fred and his staff oversee a transient shelter, a burgeoning recovery curriculum and a program that rescues and rehabilitates homeless veterans. In addition, the Harbor Light Choir is renowned in southeast Texas – performing an average of about 500 appearances each year.

Harbor Light’s capacity is just above 300 men, and dealing with both client and building issues constitutes what Fred calls, “complex situations.” Like Charmaine, he knows that every day brings new challenges: “Just when you think you’ve seen it all,something else happens!”

Mr. and Mrs. Smith probably won’t see each other until later that evening when Charmaine returns to their apartment. They often share that day’s high and low points, always supportive of the other’s ministry.

“Charmaine may well be one of Harbor Light’s biggest advocates, ”Fred Smith observed. “Especially the choir, which we both enjoy watching perform at various events around town.”

“Fred is a good listener,” said Charmaine of her husband. “He lets me cry when some days don’t go so well, and he rejoices with me when a success makes everything else seem worthwhile!”

Fred and Charmaine Smith share the same Christian goals, values, and standards. Their jobs and methods are different. Yet they love what they are doing, “saving the world” – one soul at a time.

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Merger in Louisville

Soldiers and local officers left their long-established corps to come together in a new place of worship. In November 2007, The Salvation Army Louisville Area Command purchased a 164,000-
square-foot former school with a 1,400-seat auditorium. This sacred space isthe new temple for the Sanders Mission Corps. There are so many signs that God ordained this to be the place to give glory to him. Gold shields shaped in the form of The Salvation Army shield decorate the upper walls – they have been there since the building was erected in 1914. Major Juanita Cook shared that she had attended youth councils in the building in the 1960s.

Representatives from both corps marched down the sidewalk proudly carrying the flags from their corps, those from Sanders Corps coming from the south and those from Harbor Light coming from the north. They met at the front steps of their new church home, greeted there by Kentucky-Tennessee divisional leaders Majors John and Marthalyn Needham. Joining them were Louisville Area Commander, Major Keath Biggers, and Major Candice Biggers.

The theme of the holiness service was one of celebration. A spirit of festivity permeated every aspect of the service.

The area commander challenged the congregation to be a light in the community. The service was based on the prayer that King Solomon offered to God when he consecrated the temple, and, indeed, the presence and glory of God was manifested in a real way in the Sanders Mission Corps sanctuary.

In response, many people came to the altar to give their lives to Jesus or to rededicate their commitment. The celebration moved from the sanctuary to the parking lot after the service. A family block party brought about 500 friends and neighbors to the area. Each person was treated with fun and games, food, drinks and fellowship. The two corps became one on that historic day. And, as in all good marriages, they are committed to make their family grow as they share the love of God.

The celebration moved from the sanctuary to the parking lot after the service. A family block party brought about 500 friends and neighbors to the area.Each person was treated with fun and games, food, drinks and fellowship.

The two corps became one on that historic day. And, as in all good their family grow as they share the love of God.


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Homeless veterans find
refuge, purpose through
Army partnership with VA

By Major Frank Duracher

An alliance between The Salvation Army and the Veterans Affairs Department dating back to 2004 has already placed hundreds of formerly homeless veterans in homes, in addition to restoring their self-esteem.

The Homeless Veterans Program is one of several programs housed at the Harbor Light Center near downtown Houston. The program, aimed exclusively at homeless veterans, has grown from the original 30-bed grant to the present-day program capacity of 70.

“To qualify for this program, a man has to be a veteran who for whatever reason is now homeless,” said Kevin Walsh, VA case manager. “Most also have a substance- or alcohol-abuse problem, and we address that as well.”

Many of the veterans are referred to Harbor Light by the local VA Hospital. The hospital gives the veteran a thorough health screening before sending them to the Army for intake.

“Many of these men are homeless because of some medical problem which prevents them from going back to work. Some are even retired and have no other resources,” Walsh said.

The program’s objective is to secure independent living after each man has achieved sobriety. A partnership with VIP (Veterans In Progress) assists in finding adequate housing, VIP is also instrumental in seeking fulltime employment.

The grant allows each veteran to remain in the program for 90 days, with an option to extend to six months. During their time at the Harbor Light Center, the veteran attends classes in vocational rehabilitation, incentive therapy, drug education, life skills and money management.

After the veteran graduates from the program, they benefit from yet another Army partnership with Extended Aftercare Inc. (EAI), who monitors each man’s progress in the first months they are on their own.

Walsh said he considers the program’s 47% success rate very good and in keeping with a national average of similar programs. Walsh said that nearly half the veterans in the program served in the Vietnam War. Others fought in Desert Storm, while a few have recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan. One older man’s military service dates back to the Korean conflict.

“This ministry is important because these guys are homeless and have unresolved issues, like drug and alcohol abuse,” said Walsh, who was a school teacher in Baltimore for 22 years before losing everything because of his addiction to crack cocaine. He’s been sober now for almost 10 years, a graduate of the Harbor Light Center. Walsh has worked at the center as transient manager for four years and now as case manager with the veterans.

“It’s important to me, personally, because these men served our country – now I can help them in their time of need,” he said.





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