By Carol Wurschmidt
Lt. Justin Caldwell and Rebecca Lindquist are fine examples of those who work or volunteer with the Salvation Army.
Both have suffered trauma in their lives and both not only survived, but are thriving with the life they have built for themselves.
This Christmas finds them both providing for those who, often for the first time, are seeking assistance to get through this Christmas or just tomorrow.
“The need has increased 50 percent this year,” said Justin who runs the Sevier County office while also serving as its pastor. “The best thing about the Salvation Army is that when you donate a dollar, $0.85 goes directly to help the needy while the remaining $0.15 goes to things like keeping the lights on.
“Many people who ask for help now have never had to ask before.”
As a child, Justin was the needy one with toys and necessities provided by the Salvation Army. That was his family’s first introduction to the Salvation Army.
Learning how they assist people, his mother eventually joined to work with them. Like any young man, Justin had no intention of following the path that his mother and step-father had taken. He had plans that didn’t include the Salvation Army.
“Those plans just didn’t work out, nothing worked until I made the decision to join,” said Justin. “I’d graduated from Asbury College, but joining included a two year commitment to the training required by the Salvation Army.”
His office where he is the pastor and Corps officer covers Sevier and Cocke counties.
Lindquist’s life was great; she had everything just the way she wanted in Margate Pampano Beach, FL.
Living the good life was something she earned while teaching lower elementary grades, but it wasn’t to last.
A hurricane hit and took away everything she had ever acquired including the roof at the hotel where she had taken shelter.
What wasn’t swept away, like the walls of her house and a ruined vehicle, were of no value.
She left that area to relocate here in Seymour finding a home with people who made her welcome and comfortable.
“Material things don’t mean as much to me anymore,” Rebecca said. “I worked in Senior Care and no clients were available so I was job hunting.
“The Salvation Army used to provide the same service so I called them. They aren’t doing that anymore, but I was told about the bell ringer program which sounded good.
“I’ve gotten other job offers, but I told them I couldn’t start until after Christmas.”
The Salvation Army offers assistance with social services, utilities, medications, furniture and clothing, gasoline for medical purposes as well as church services and youth group activities.
Anyone in need can contact them at 865-908-4010.
By Carol Wurschmidt