Volunteer spotlight: Lynn and Sherman Turcotte

Apr 1, 2024

The Salvation Army Northern Division is celebrating our volunteers throughout the month of April. Check our Facebook page and news feed regularly this month to read stories about the incredible people who donate their time to help The Salvation Army in Minnesota and North Dakota. Find volunteer opportunities near you. 

Some people love volunteering for The Salvation Army so much that it becomes part of their DNA.  

Lynn and Sherman Turcotte of Duluth, Minn., are two such people. They eat, sleep and breathe The Salvation Army. 

Sherman has been on fire for The Salvation Army for more than six decades. His enthusiasm began at age 9 while he was living in the small town of Cloquet, where his mom used to take him into local bars to hand out Salvation Army “War Cry” magazines and solicit donations – a common practice in the old days.   

“We’d leave the bars with a big container full of change – I thought it was so neat,” recalled Sherman, 73, who has lived in northern Minnesota his whole life. “That was my first encounter with The Salvation Army.”

It wouldn’t be his last. Throughout the years, Sherman has performed almost every Salvation Army volunteer activity in existence – cooking, distributing toys, serving meals, and ringing bells at Red Kettles, to name only a few. 

“Whenever they’ve needed volunteers to do something, I’ve done it – no matter what it is,” said Sherman, a retired equipment operator who worked for St. Louis County for 42 years. “Helping was instilled in me by my parents.”

Lynn loves volunteering, too. She has been heavily involved in the Duluth Salvation Army ever since the couple began attending church there in 1990. For years she has volunteered as a cook, driver, meal server, and more. 

“I feel like God called me to this church,” Lynn said. “Faith is extending our hand to people who need help.”

Lynn and Sherman got married at the Duluth Salvation Army in 1993 (pictured). Their ceremony was officiated by Barry Swanson, a local Salvation Army officer who went on to become one of the highest-ranking Salvation Army officials in the world. 

The couple first met in the late 1980s when Sherman showed up at Lynn’s house to buy an old red Dodge she was selling. 

“I bought the car, and I got the owner with it,” Sherman joked. 

Diving Deeper

As the years passed, Lynn and Sherman’s involvement with The Salvation Army deepened into something even greater than volunteering and attending church.  

Sherman expanded his involvement by teaching Sunday school and serving on the Duluth Salvation Army advisory board – which he still does after 15 years. 

Meanwhile, Lynn immersed herself in Women’s ministry activities. Since the late 1990s she has attended and helped lead Bible studies that have provided support, encouragement and spiritual enrichment for countless local women. 

“I’ve been to almost every Bible study for the past 25 years,” Lynn said proudly.

The couple even “adopted” the daughter of a former Duluth Salvation Army officer who was transferred to a different Salvation Army location during the daughter’s senior year of high school. Lynn and Sherman welcomed the girl into their home for a year so that she could finish high school with her friends.

“Lynn and Sherman are pillars of the Duluth Salvation Army,” said Captain Teri Ellison, who led the Duluth Salvation Army with her husband, Captain Bryan Ellison, from 2017 to June 2023. “They have served faithfully for decades and shared their love for the Lord in many ways. Captain Bryan and I loved serving with them.” 

Lynn and Sherman are proud of the support they have provided to the Duluth community and they are excited to continue serving far into the future. 

“We just love to help people,” Sherman said. “It’s what we stand for.”

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