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Salvation Army officers make a major move

August 15, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

When Majors Bob and Karen Lyle learned they were going to be assigned to The Salvation Army in Hagerstown, they were a little concerned about how their two sons would take the news.

"Our oldest son, Joshua, said 'Dad, let's go to Maryland and see what God has in mind for us,'" Bob Lyle said.

Joshua, 15, plans to play football at North Hagerstown High School. Caleb, 11, will be attending Northern Middle School. He too is dealing well with his new surroundings, having connected with the Hagerstown Giants football team, his parents said.

That made the move easier said Karen Lyle.

The Lyles served with the Salvation Army in Charleston, S.C., for three years before getting the assignment to Hagerstown. They are taking over from Majors Butch and Carolyn Mallard, who are now stationed in North Carolina.

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Karen Lyle literally grew up in The Salvation Army in New York.

"My parents weren't officers, but my grandfather was," she said.

A Texan, Bob Lyle came to The Salvation Army at the age of 10 after a positive Vacation Bible School experience there.

"At 12, I felt the call to become an officer," he said.

By the age of 19, Bob Lyle was enrolled in seminary in Atlanta. Karen Lyle met her future husband at seminary, where she was working at the time. They married in 1988, the year he was commissioned. Karen Lyle said she began training in 1989 and was commissioned in 1991.

Their first assignment as a couple was in Eden, N.C., but both said the name was misleading.

"It was a very depressed area ... very tough," Karen Lyle said.

Still, during their 18 months there, the Lyles learned valuable lessons in what to do and what not to do in the business of helping people.

The next 6 1/2 years were spent in Union, S.C., then they spent three years in Kinston, N.C., doing disaster-relief work almost full time because several hurricanes devastated that region.

Now in Hagerstown, the Lyles said they are impressed with the great church and the great people who work and volunteer here.

They plan to continue existing programs while increasing evangelism and outdoor services. They also want to expand the women and children's shelter.

The Salvation Army, at 534 W. Franklin St., serves approximately 100 meals each weekday and maintains 30 beds for people in need of housing. It also raises funds through a kettle drive to help with programs and to provide Christmas for area families in need. Last Christmas, 869 Washington County families were aided, with 1,960 children receiving toys.

For more information, call 301-733-2440.

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