Metropolitan Division Welcomes New Divisional Commanders
The Salvation Army has appointed Lieutenant Colonels Lonneal and Patty Richardson as Divisional Commander and Director of Women’s Ministries, respectively, for The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division.
The Lt. Colonels Richardson are no strangers to the Chicago area. They went through The Salvation Army’s College for Officer Training in Chicago and served their first joint appointment as officers in Evanston, where they gave birth to the first of their three sons. “We consider Chicago our home,” said Lt. Colonel Lonneal. “We’re excited to be here.”
The Lt. Colonels Richardson are also no strangers to the key issues affecting the Metro Division: urban poverty, racial injustice, and the economic and health fallout of COVID-19. In the years since their initial appointment here, they have served throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Minnesota, most recently in the Twin Cities area.
On the Frontlines
As leaders of The Salvation Army’s Midland Division in St. Louis, they were the first African American divisional commanders in the Central Territory and just the second in The Salvation Army nationwide. There, they were on the front lines of the rioting in Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown. Lt. Colonel Lonneal participated in a conference call with the White House as they were navigating that difficult time and says the Army served as a bridge-builder between law enforcement and the community.
In Minnesota earlier this year, where the Lt. Colonels Richardson served as divisional commanders of the Northern Division, they were on the front lines of the demonstrations and rioting in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd. There, The Salvation Army organized a walk to decry racism, where Lt. Colonel Patty told participants, “Mr. Floyd’s death was inhumane, it was senseless, and it goes against everything The Salvation Army stands for. But in all of that hurt, we are a people of prayer and we believe there is a God who can heal.”
A Passion for Urban Ministries
Lt. Colonel Lonneal is passionate about urban ministries and says community development is among his top priorities for the Metro Division. He noted the Army has several great facilities, including the Shield of Hope and Freedom Center, but that there’s a distinct difference in the surrounding neighborhoods. “How do we now change the community?” he asked.
Partnering with neighborhood stakeholders is key, he said, as well as “being engaged in some of these difficult topics and areas: racial justice and equality, and economic justice and equality, health care, immigration and assimilation into American society.” Lt. Colonel Lonneal plans to be active in this process. “You won’t see me just in my office. I will be out and involved in those conversations.”
Ministering During a Pandemic
As the Metro Division responds to the other big challenge of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, Lt. Colonel Lonneal stressed the need to adapt our services to these unique times, such as meeting with clients virtually. “What does the community need the Army to be now?” he asked, adding that officers and staff need to be asking that question regularly and making the appropriate adjustments.
The Lt. Colonels Richardson will lead the officers, staff, and volunteers of the Metropolitan Division in Doing the Most Good, as we extend hope to our neighbors most in need through more than 50 different programs and engage in the Army’s national effort to Rescue Christmas this holiday season.
Help The Salvation Army Rescue Christmas
for Our Neighbors in Need
For tax purposes: The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division EIN is 36-2167910.