The Salvation Army celebrates
105 years of Service to South Mississippi
The Salvation Army Gulfport Corps officially opened in January 1907 with Captain and Mrs. A. Belcher. The Corps has continually served the Gulfport, Harrison County, Stone County, Hancock County, and Pearl River County communities with character building programs, worship opportunities and vital social service programs since that date. Following Hurricane Katrina the Gulfport Corps merged with The Biloxi Corps, in June 2006, to become Harrison County Corps. In September 2011, with the opening of the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, the Harrison County Corps moved into the new worship center and is now known as the Kroc Corps. The current Corps Pastors are Major Sharon Ray and Major Linda Penhale.
The spirit and vitality of The Salvation Army expressed itself with positive growth along the coast and in March 1966 The Salvation Army Corps in Pascagoula opened under the leadership of Lt. David Bates. The Pascagoula Corps has persevered through good times and hard times offering hope and help to the needy, the hungry, the homeless, the cold and the forgotten. Captains Andy and Jenny Bailey are the current Corps Officers.
Five short years later The Biloxi Corps was established under the command of Lt. Benjamin Valdez in February 1971. The Biloxi Corps served Biloxi, Wool Market and D'Iberville from that date until it merged with the Gulfport Corps to become the Harrison County Corps in June 2006.
The Salvation Army formed The Mississippi Gulf Coast Area Command in June 2006 under the leadership of Majors Rob and Janine Vincent who came to the coast to help with disaster recovery following Hurricane Katrina. In June 2011 command passed to Majors Tarryl and Sharon Ray who now serve the entire lower six counties of Southern Mississippi as Area Commanders. September 2011, celebrated the grand opening of The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Today we celebrate 105 years of service to South Mississippi with two active Corps, an active Bible Study outreach, a shelter, a community center and social service offices actively working and geographically located in each of these counties, Jackson, George, Harrison, Stone, Hancock, and Pearl River.
Since 1907 The Salvation Army has helped Southern Mississippians weather the storms of life brought on by World War I, The Great Depression, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the Iraq War. The soldiers, friends and volunteers of The Salvation Army have held up and served while others broke down from the hardships of hurricanes like Camille, Georges, and Katrina. They have been there daily for those in crisis from domestic violence, homelessness, and poverty, loss of jobs and family illnesses and deaths.
Plans for future service in South Mississippi are exciting as we start the construction of a new Transitional Housing Facility in Gulfport, upgrading our Emergency Shelter in Pascagoula and a Family Store system to serve all six counties with affordable clothing and home furnishings and as an important support mechanism to our social service programs.
Join us today as we kick off a season of celebration to honor and encourage all who have served, those who are currently serving and those who will serve in the future.
To God be the Glory