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Hagerstown resident named Salvation Army's volunteer of the year

Annual appreciation dinner served to honor the 200 volunteers, comprised of groups, clubs and individuals

April 18, 2013|By HOLLY SHOK | holly.shok@herald-mail.com
  • Peggy Huff reacts to the announcement Thursday evening that she was named volunteer of the year for 2012 by The Salvation Army of Washington County during the organization's annual appreciation dinner at its new Shifler Family Community Center in Hagerstown.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

At The Salvation Army of Washington County’s annual appreciation dinner Thursday night, keynote speaker  Lt. Colonel Jack T. Waters called the nonprofit an organization of “second chances.”

But Hagerstown resident Peggy Huff had her first chance to accept the volunteer of the year award after 36 years of service.

“I didn’t know I was getting this, I thought he was talking about somebody else. It kind of brought tears to my eyes,” said Huff, who started volunteering at the age of 23 and is now 60, after receiving her award.

Huff said she volunteers at The Salvation Army’s front desk from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The annual appreciation dinner served to honor the 200 volunteers, comprised of groups, clubs and individuals, of 2012.

Of the 51 clubs and groups that helped ring bells in 2012, raising $21,506, the top three that raised the most money were honored.

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First place went to Kiwanis Club of Hagerstown; second place to The Rotary Club of Hagerstown and third place to Benevola United Methodist Church.

With The Salvation Army staff included, the county’s kettles raised more than $74,000 in 2012, said Ward Childerston, advisory board member. 

“Every day that you wake up more than 1 million people receive assistance from The Salvation Army,” said Waters, the night’s keynote speaker.

The appreciation dinner was held for the first time at the Shifler Family Community Center, which opened on George Street in October.

Waters, who spearheaded the capital campaign to raise $1.62 million to assist in constructing the new multipurpose center aimed at offering a place for children of the West Franklin Street corridor to play and socialize, addressed about 140 in attendance.

Maj. Robert D. Lyle, who runs the center with his wife, Karen, said in the 120 days since opening, the center has been available for 3,120 visits by people whose “lives have been changed just because they’ve had a place to come and we’ve only just begun,” he said.

The center is named after James Shifler, who, in addition to donating a sizable gift for the project, raised $110,000 for the center, Lyle said.

“The Salvation Army can only be as strong as the army that’s behind it ... without the volunteers there’s no way to do the things that we do,” Lyle said.

Waters focused much of his speech on the organization’s founder.

“William Booth had a dream. It wasn’t that The Salvation Army would be the biggest organization in the world ... what William Booth was concerned about was that people would have an opportunity for a second chance. And The Salvation Army has become the organization of second chances.”

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