National Advisory Board Celebrates "Mission on Track" in Omaha
“Mission on Track” was the theme of The Salvation Army National Advisory Board meeting Sept. 20 and 21 in Omaha, a theme that reflects the city’s heritage as a transportation and logistics hub as well as The Salvation Army’s ongoing mission to serve the most vulnerable men, women and children in the Omaha metro.
Thirty-eight members of the National Advisory Board — including Mike Cassling, CEO of CQuence Health Group — joined Salvation Army National Commissioners David and Sharron Hudson, Central Territorial Commissioners Brad and Heidi Bailey, Western Divisional Leaders Greg and Lee Ann Thompson, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, local Omaha Advisory Board members and more than 45 Omaha business leaders at a breakfast Sept. 20.
Union Pacific Railroad Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz gave the keynote address, offering insights into the railroad’s 150-year history and Omaha’s unique philanthropic culture.
“Our city is truly unique in the engagement of the business community in philanthropy,” said Fritz. “Omaha gives like no other community I’ve ever seen.”
Union Pacific recently awarded a $20,000 grant to The Salvation Army Western Division’s SAFE-T program to aid in the fight against human trafficking. “We are very proud of our relationship with The Salvation Army here in Omaha,” said Fritz.
In addition to remarks by Fritz and Ricketts, National Advisory Board Chair and former Krispy Kreme Doughnuts President and CEO Tony Thompson also spoke at the breakfast, emphasizing the importance of the local advisory board in enabling The Salvation Army to serve the metro’s most vulnerable and marginalized members. “You are the fabric of the community,” he said. “You have all the local connections, and you establish the grounding for The Salvation Army in the local area.”
After a day of meetings, National Advisory Board members and national, territorial, divisional and local Salvation Army leaders reconvened at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on the evening of Sept. 20 to enjoy dinner, fellowship and testimonials from those who have been impacted by and are impacting others through The Salvation Army’s programs and services in the Omaha metro.
Among those who shared their stories was Matt Walter, who, after he was expelled from school at age 15, was required to fulfill a certain number of community service hours at his local Salvation Army corps. “The people at The Salvation Army didn’t see me as a troublemaker,” Walter said. “They saw me as a child of God with great potential. I wasn’t a client or a statistic; I was a son – a family member. The Salvation Army invested in me and taught me to serve my community.”
Today Walter serves as a youth pastor and program director at Citadel Corps Community Center, the very same Salvation Army corps that took him in as a troubled teenager all those years ago.
“One thing about The Salvation Army is that we love numbers,” said Commissioner Hudson in his closing remarks. “We serve 25 million people in the United States; we’re in every ZIP code. We love those numbers. But it’s important to remember that behind every number is a person, a person with a name and a story. Real lives and real people are being impacted every day by The Salvation Army.”