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As a past member of the Salvation Army of Wilson Advisory Board and past chair of social services and communications, I am compelled to reply to Tuesday’s front-page headline in The Wilson Times: “Resignation, new hire at Salvation Army.”
In my two-year tenure, I worked very closely with Jamilla Kirby and Chon Ferrell and I echo both of their sentiments. And I can appreciate all of their comments, as I too was a victim of the exact same circumstances.
In my situation, while volunteering, Maj. Bobby Lancaster was the interim major overseeing the Wilson operations before the church closed and the local Salvation Army operation became a service center. In person, on many occasions, I would ask the major questions to better serve the public and he would always say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out and let you know.” Never a response, so I would call the Divisional Headquarters of the Salvation Army in Charlotte and Darlington, South Carolina, and never received a call back or response either.
Shelly Henderson’s quotes in the story are from a storybook dialogue. How many times did I reach out to her for assistance in attempts to advertise the thrift store and improve social services only to be promised material that never showed? If the thrift store provides such a great asset to the community, why did it never turn a profit and had to be closed and remodeled to attract more customers? And why were vendors such as Gracies turned away with quality merchandise as it was not a good time to receive it?
For all of my friends who have called me to complain about the thrift store and social services, you know what I am talking about — yet it is being swept underneath the carpet. I know the work and dedication that Jamilla Kirby had for the Salvation Army as she took it upon herself to go to Food Lion and Target each day to pick up donated fresh produce, meats and nonperishables to fill her bags for her clients each day. Needless to say, she took on the Angel Tree adoption program in 2018 on her own while juggling her social service duties. To indicate that a beat was not missed or the assistance has always been there is absolutely not the truth.
I admire both Jamilla and Chon for giving of their love and commitment to make a difference in this community. But it becomes loud and clear when you are left alone and feel you have no recourse but resign. And bottom line, it does make a difference in the lives of those in need of assistance but have no control over the situation except to seek other avenues for help.