Introducing the 2020 Volunteers of the Year

Apr 20, 2020

Salvation Army volunteers are remarkable people because they give without expecting anything in return. They cook and serve hot meals, ring bells, push paperwork, mentor at-risk kids and more, all for one simple reason: It’s the right thing to do.

To help celebrate National Volunteer Week this week, we are honoring several volunteers who stand out for their uncommon grit, grace and commitment. They are our 2020 Volunteers of the Year: Pamela Anderson, Theatry Jones, the Mumbleau family, Bethany Forsberg, and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department.

This year’s winners were selected from among the 12,000 dedicated volunteers who help The Salvation Army Northern Division provide life-changing services for 340,000 people in Minnesota and North Dakota.   

“I’d like to congratulate the 2020 Volunteers of the Year winners,” said Lt. Col. Lonneal Richardson, commander of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “The work we do here could not happen without the help of all our volunteers, and these five winners certainly exemplify the compassion and selflessness that is the spirit of The Salvation Army.”

Lifetime: Pamela Anderson

The Salvation Army Northern Division is proud to announce Pamela Anderson as our 2020 Lifetime Volunteer of the Year.

Anderson volunteered at The Salvation Army in Fergus Falls, Minn., and has served there with dedication for 20 years.

“Pamela has been compassionately serving her community and The Salvation Army with love for God's people,” said Lt. Anthony Nordan, leader of the Fergus Falls service center. “Not a day would go by when she didn’t wake up and ask herself, ‘How can I serve God today?’ and headed to The Salvation Army with her crew.” 

One example that demonstrates her value to the center played out during last year’s Christmas Toy Shop gift distribution. The day before the event, the staff was feeling overwhelmed with completing all the necessary set-up and coordination. That’s when Pamela took over: she and her team rallied the community to bring in over 100 volunteers, making sure the Toy Shop was a success. She coordinated the gifts, food and work assignments, and made sure every client was greeted with encouragement and offered a prayer.

Over the years, Pamela has served the incarcerated and those struggling with poverty. Whether helping someone overcome drug addiction or providing a sympathetic ear to someone who’s had their children taken away, she has shown hope and compassion to hundreds of suffering souls.

“Whenever her crew got together, problems got smaller and community got better,” Norden said. “She now is enjoying her reward—God called this good and faithful servant home on February 24th—but her impact will be felt here for generations to come.”

Individual: Theatry Jones

The Salvation Army Northern Division is proud to announce Theatry Jones as our 2020 Individual Volunteer of the Year.

Jones is a volunteer at The Salvation Army in Brooklyn Park, Minn. While most people who volunteer as a Salvation Army bell ringer at Christmas might ring a one or two 2-hour shifts, Theatry has gone the extra mile—or in this case, miles.

This past Christmas, Theatry was a “kettle driver,” who drives individuals to their various kettle locations and picks them up again. Over a period of six weeks, Theatry voluntarily served 270 hours as a driver for the Brooklyn Park service center, saving $5,400 in expenses.

“That degree of commitment translates into real dollar savings,” said Auxiliary Captain Josh Polanco, leader of the Brooklyn Park Salvation Army. “That money can then be used to maintain and improve our food and social service programs.”

Theatry actually started volunteering there back in 2009, and quickly became known for his positivity and willingness to help. In addition to bell-ringing, he also has driven for the security firm who picked up kettle donations each night; he helps with the cooking for youth programs; he picks up food donations and then repacks and distributes food to those in need; he picks up program attendees; he helps with event set-up and tear-down. Lastly, he completed the Salvation Army soldiership training and was enrolled last year.

“Even stage 4 cancer in 2017 didn’t slow him down,” Polanco said. “His cancer is now in remission, thanks to God, and we are very grateful to have Theatry here.”

Family: Dick and Jane Mumbleau

The Salvation Army Northern Division is proud to announce Dick and Jane Mumbleau as our 2020 Family Volunteers of the Year.

The Mumbleaus have been dedicated volunteers at The Salvation Army on West 7th St. in St. Paul every week for the last 10 years. Though they take on a number of roles, they are an important component of our food programs which help feed thousands of neighbors experiencing food insecurity. They make the weekly rescued food pickups received from Salvation Army food partners which, over the years, has amounted to literally tons of food. This is especially important following holiday weekends when large amounts of rescued food become available—all of this despite being of retirement age!

In addition to the food program, they assist with our prison ministry, bell ringing coordination, other special events, and more. As a retired teacher, Dick has impacted the lives of hundreds of children, and both Dick and Jane are continuing to make an impact in all the ways they help The Salvation Army.

“If it wasn’t for the Mumbleaus, there would be a lot of people in our area who wouldn’t benefit from the fresh, nutritious foods they help provide,” said Lt. Jonathon Taube, co-leader of the West 7th service center. “They actually come all the way from Centerville to provide help with a joyful heart. Their dedication is truly inspiring, and we are immensely grateful for their commitment.”

Youth: Bethany Forsberg

The Salvation Army Northern Division is proud to announce Bethany Forsberg as our 2020 Youth Volunteer of the Year.

Bethany has been volunteering at the Lakewood Salvation Army in Maplewood, Minn. since she was fifteen. For nearly three years, she has played an important role in ministries involving younger children—working in the nursery on Sunday mornings and engaging kids by playing basketball. In addition, she will be joining the center’s Summer Mission Team.

“We’re grateful to have Bethany helping us here at the Lakewood service center,” said Captain Michael Metzler, who leads the center. “Not only does she provide guidance and leadership to the youth here, but this has given her the opportunity to grow personally as well.”

Bethany is also involved in preparing dinner for 50 people at Lakewood each Tuesday night. She also helps with outreach events, handing out flyers and encouraging others to join her for Lakewood activities. Lastly, she’s an award-winning clarinet player in the Corps’ youth band and is now learning to play the trumpet. And, not surprisingly, she’s a red kettle bell ringer.

“The kids at Lakewood just love Bethany,” Metzler said. “We’re always seeing kids run up to her to give her a big hug. That’s the kind of heart we want to show people here.” 

Organization: Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department

The Salvation Army Northern Division is proud to announce the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department as our 2020 Volunteer Organization of the Year.

The first thing to note about the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department is their length of service—they have been volunteering with The Salvation Army for over two decades! Their strong presence in the community and unwavering support of our missions has helped create hope and trust in the neighborhoods we serve.

One major impact the Sheriff’s staff has made is in serving as Salvation Army bell ringers, and can be seen helping out most Saturdays during the Christmas season. Their efforts have raised over $100,000 to help support Salvation Army food, housing and disaster response programs.

In addition, the Sheriff Department staff impacts the lives of hundreds of children by volunteering for our Prison Toy Lift program, an initiative that provides Christmas gifts to the children of an incarcerated parent—children who might not otherwise receive gifts at Christmas.

“There is no better example of organizational volunteerism than the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department,” said Haley Nelson, Volunteer Relations Director for The Salvation Army Northern Division. “Not only do we value their work as peace officers in our community, but their efforts on behalf of The Salvation Army is impacting countless lives for the better.”

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