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Gaithers honored guests at football classic

In recognition of his appointment as the first African-American National Commander of The Salvation Army, Commissioner Israel L. Gaither was recently invited to serve as grand marshal of the 71st annual Tuskegee-Morehouse Football Classic in Columbus, Ga.

Gaither, who was accompanied by his wife, Commissioner Eva Gaither, headed the pre-game parade and presided over the coin toss at the beginning of the celebrated annual matchup between the two historically black universities. In addition, the Gaithers were presented with a key to the city of Columbus and were recognized with a city, state and national proclamation.

"Eva and I were thrilled and humbled to be recognized during this outstanding athletic event," Gaither said. "We hope that our presence helped underscore the importance of The Salvation Army's mission as well as the vital role these two institutions play in building a better America."

Gaither met many city, state and national leaders and supporters of the Army during the weekend. According to Captain David Swyers, Columbus corps officer, "We are confident that Commissioner Gaither's participation in this event will help build new and exciting relationships for The Salvation Army in Columbus, throughout Georgia and across the nation." Those thoughts were echoed by Major Bill Mockabee, Georgia divisional commander: "We think this could be the beginning of a wonderful partnership between The Salvation Army, Morehouse College, Tuskegee University and Spelman College to work together to find new and exciting ways of doing the most good within our communities to positively impact the lives of men, women, boys and girls."

Dallas' Carr P. Collins Center  marks 20 years of service

The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Command in September celebrated the 20-year anniversary of its Carr P. Collins Social Service Center located in Dallas. Over the past two decades the center has provided 8 million meals, nearly 3 million nights of lodging, 298,704 grocery bags and has helped 344,036 people with emergency financial assistance.

Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler - daughter of the late Carr P. Collins, the philanthropic founder for whom the center was named - recalled a phone call from her brother, Jim Collins, a U.S. congressman, who said, "Ruthie, let's give two and a half million dollars and name it after Dad."

Ruth Altshuler was chair of the Dallas Advisory Board when the center was built.

Lt. Colonel John Mikles, who was Texas divisional commander when the 169,000-square-foot complex opened in 1986, traveled from Florida to honor the Collins family.

"What family in this great city has had such a profound impact for so long in the field of philanthropy and social services and caring and compassion? And so I salute each member of the Collins family for what you have done to make this building possible," Mikles said.

The complex has a men's shelter, women's shelter, domestic violence safe house, a court-ordered substance abuse rehab program and social services, including a food pantry and financial assistance to help people pay rent and utilities.

A full-color, eight-page section was published in The Dallas Morning News on the day of the event to focus the entire community on the center's impact on Dallas over the past 20 years.

European court rules in Army's favor in Russia

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia's refusal to register the Moscow branch of The Salvation Army violated the organization's rights to freedom of religion and association under Europe's human rights convention.

The court said that when authorities refused to register the Army in 1999, they "did not act in good faith and neglected their duty of neutrality and impartiality."

The Court also awarded The Salvation Army 10,000 euros (USD 12,700) in damages.

Commissioner Barry Pobjie, Eastern Europe territorial commander, called the Court's ruling "significant, not just for The Salvation Army, but for the entire religious community of Russia."

This judgment "allows us to get on with the vital ministry of reaching out to the lost and serving the poor and suffering more effectively," he said. Pobjie added that HIV/AIDS and human trafficking are Russia's biggest problems.

"We are going to use every euro of the money awarded to us for a one-off project to help those who need it most," Pobjie said. "Not one euro will be used for The Salvation Army or paid to our lawyers, it belongs to the poor."




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