Saturday, June 25, 2022
June 25, 2022

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Salvation Army celebrates service

Vancouver nonprofit relishes return to in-person events during awards luncheon, its first in 2 years

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
4 Photos
Maj. Jonathan Harvey speaks to a crowded Sequoia Room at The Salvation Army Vancouver Corps 2022 Love Beyond Community Luncheon on Wednesday at Royal Oaks Country Club. The event was the first in-person event held by the organization in more then two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100 people attended. Money raised by ticket sales for the event exceeded $70,000 -- considerably surpassing the $10,000 the organization hoped to raise during the luncheon.
Maj. Jonathan Harvey speaks to a crowded Sequoia Room at The Salvation Army Vancouver Corps 2022 Love Beyond Community Luncheon on Wednesday at Royal Oaks Country Club. The event was the first in-person event held by the organization in more then two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 100 people attended. Money raised by ticket sales for the event exceeded $70,000 -- considerably surpassing the $10,000 the organization hoped to raise during the luncheon. (Joshua Hart for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Salvation Army Vancouver Corps dusted off its iconic red kettles Wednesday.

However, instead of being used as receptacles for cash donations as they are during the holiday season, the kettles were filled with flower arrangements and placed at the center of each table during the organization’s first in-person luncheon in more than two years.

The event held at the Royal Oaks Country Club in central Vancouver included speakers, a performance by the Salvation Army Vancouver Band, an awards ceremony and more. It marked a special return since the organization had to cancel all in-person events in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s unusual not to be on a Zoom,” Advisory Board Chair George Francisco said as he took the podium. The clinking of forks and glasses filled the room as the 105 attendees dug into their first course. “It’s so good to see real people for a change. Without masks, I can finally see what some of you look like!”

Attendees included Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle and former mayors Tim Leavitt and Bruce Hagensen, as well as members of Clark County’s business and nonprofit communities.

Following an introduction by Francisco and an a cappella performance of “Amazing Grace” sung by Clark County sheriff candidate Rey Reynolds, an entrée was served, and a violinist and pianist played a gentle serenade. Then, Maj. Jonathan Harvey with the Salvation Army Northwest Division took the podium.

“I feel so relaxed,” he said after thanking the musicians. “Just wait until the Christmas season, and that will go away!”

Harvey spoke about the importance of the Salvation Army’s presence in the Pacific Northwest.

“When people are at their lowest, when they feel like they have nowhere else to turn, the Salvation Army is there,” he said. “In 2021, the Salvation Army was present in the lives of 90,000 people across the Pacific Northwest. Across the Pacific Northwest, people just like you are making things possible by allowing and enabling the Salvation Army to be present.”

Following Harvey’s speech, dessert was served, and an awards ceremony began. Kathleen Pisors of Camas was given the Spirit of Caring Award for her extensive volunteer work, and Cestus Armored Gloves was given the Community Partner Award for providing space for the Salvation Army to store toys and other donations in December.

“The impact that you have on a specific family or in the community is something that you can carry with you forever,” Pisors said of her volunteer work.

Then, Francisco took the podium once again.

“Every year, the Salvation Army has a new theme, and this year our theme is ‘Love Beyond,’” he said. “Love is a word that goes around a lot, but which achieves its deepest and best meaning when it is demonstrated; that is, love in action.”

He then told a story about how the Salvation Army helped a Vancouver family recover from financial instability through its Pathway of Hope program.

“In many ways, the Salvation Army performs miracles in Vancouver, but only with your help,” he said.

Ticket sales for the event brought in more than $70,000 for the organization; the goal was to raise $10,000 during the luncheon.

According to Steve Rusk, Salvation Army Vancouver Corps spokesperson, a $1,500 donation can keep a family from being evicted, a $1,000 donation can provide a month of emergency lodging for a family, a $500 donation can help heat a family’s home through the winter and a $250 donation can pay for 100 nutritious meals.

After a benediction and a final performance by the band, many attendees traveled to the Salvation Army Vancouver Corps campus, 1500 N.E. 112th Ave., for an open house.

To donate or to learn more about the Salvation Army Vancouver Corps, visit vancouver.salvationarmy.org.

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