Finding Purpose, Finding Hope

Apr 30, 2020 | by Doug Donahoo

Major Tim Best had a job to do: cleaning. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas City, Kan., the long-time Salvation Army officer knew he had to do everything to keep his facility clean.

The Salvation Army KCK Citadel is home to a Harbor Light rehab facility, with several people living on-campus for treatment. Between communal spaces and residents’ apartments, there was a lot to clean.

“We went immediately into our orange level, which is a hyper-clean,” Major Best said.

That amount of work would require extra hands, and Major Best didn’t have to look far to find another set willing to go to work.

Marquetta Paden was already volunteering to do just about anything that needed doing around the Citadel location on State Avenue. Padden is a graduate of The Army’s New Life Re-Entry Ministry, a program geared towards helping people involved in the correctional system transition to their new life.

“When I got out the only people who greeted me with open arms was my family, but the world was shutting me out,” Marquetta remembered. “When I met this place, it welcomed me with open arms, it’s truly been a blessing.”

The New Life Re-Entry program exists for people like Marquetta. “One of the things that folks who have been involved in the correctional system discover when they get out, there are very few places that are willing to look beyond the initial background check,” Major Best said.

And Marquetta shined, graduating from Connections to Success and becoming a fixture at The Salvation Army, both as a volunteer and a member of the congregation.

“I was helping cleaning up, and if they ever needed any help I volunteered because I appreciated everything they’ve ever done for me,” she said.

It was that attitude that made Major Best’s choice easy. “She’s good at what she does and she does it well.”

In short order, Marquetta was the newest employee of The Salvation Army Kansas City, Kan. Citadel, responsible for cleaning and disinfecting all over the campus. Two weeks later, she had something else to go along with her new job. Her first paycheck in nearly two decades.

“I’m still smiling about that. It’s not about the amount of the check, it was about the check period. I’m just so happy, it made me feel like I was back in society again and doing positive things,” Marquetta said.

A paycheck she has more than earned according to Major Best.  “When we dreamed about this program, it was for someone like Marquetta. She embodies everything we thought about in that program. For us, it’s validation we’re doing the right thing.”

Your support allows people like Marquetta to make a new start in life while also helping us keep our corps buildings clean. You can support all the work of The Salvation Army right now by clicking here.

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