Hagerstown becomes hometown for Salvation Army chief

April 21, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

The Salvation Army has been a part of the lives of Robert and Georgia Henderson from the time they were children.

Their parents ran Salvation Army facilities throughout the country, and the two grew up seeing how the organization works from the inside.

Maj. Robert Henderson remembers his father's stints in New York City and Atlanta. His wife, Georgia Henderson, grew up in cities throughout the Southwest, including Oklahoma and Mexico City.

"I can't hardly call one city my hometown," said Robert Henderson, who with his wife took over the The Hagerstown Corps of the Salvation Army last June.


The Hendersons came from Cumberland, Md., where they commanded the Salvation Army for seven years.

The Salvation Army on Franklin Street has started new programs under the Hendersons, including a transitional housing program for the homeless, but Henderson said the couple's primary goal is to continue the services that are offered here.

Last year, more than 21,000 meals were provided to more than 4,000 people in the Daily Feeding Program at noon at the Hagertown Community Center.

The clothing and furniture donation program distributed 18,985 items last year, and during Christmas, the Salvation Army donated 6,740 food items, 2,692 toys, 1,459 stockings, and 730 teddy bears.

Tonight, the local Salvation Army will celebrate 95 years of service to the community during its annual meeting at the Four Points Hotel in Hagerstown. Outgoing advisory board chairman Gaye McGovern is expected to welcome new officers.

The transitional housing program, which started about a month ago, helps homeless people get into public housing, Henderson said.

Begun in a newly renovated building across the street from the Salvation Army, the program offers people courses in parenting and budgeting to help them make the transition, Henderson said.

The Hendersons have worked for the Salvation Army for more than 30 years. They met at Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky. They worked at Salvation Army shelters in Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta, Oklahoma City, and Mississippi before moving to Cumberland.

The Hendersons, who live at a parsonage at the Salvation Army, replaced Samuel VanDenburg and his wife, who commanded the local Salvation Army for three years.

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