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VETERANS DAY TAB - Salvation Army Story

By Mark Welsh

The Salvation Army has always extended a helping hand to those in need. During World War I, it went where the troops were to extend a helping hand to soldiers far from home.

This policy continued during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf. The Salvation Army was at the World Trade Center disaster. When members of our Armed Forces have needed someone to write a letter, provide a shoulder to cry on, or just a cup of coffee, the Salvation Army was readily available to help them.

We all know the stories of WW II when they were there with a hot cup of coffee and a donut. It may not seem like much, but to the soldier it was a piece of heaven. The helping hand was extended to the soldier without charge and without the expectation of anything in return.

Many may not be aware the Salvation Army visits veterans in V.A. Hospitals on a regular basis and does special programs during the Christmas and Easter seasons for hospital residents. In 1987, the Salvation Army, in conjunction with the New York City Department of Homeless Services, opened the first shelter in the country designed for veterans. Today, 410 men call it home. Just as important is the follow up they do for families that have lost loved ones in defense of our country.

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According to Maj. Mark Welsh of the Rochester Salvation Army, 25 percent of his budget is derived from donations to the kettle program. The Salvation Army not only helps veterans but also helps any person in need through emergency services, the Transitional Housing Program and our Good Samaritan medical and dental programs.

During this time of year, when the holiday season approaches, we must be mindful of not only veterans but all people who are, for various reasons, in need. So when you pass a red kettle this year. please dig deeper and give happily and willingly in the honor of a veteran.

Since 1775, brave members of the Armed Forces have fought to protect our freedom and our way of life. God bless our great country and God bless those who give so others may live the American dream.

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