After five years at the Salvation Army in Warren County, Majors Ron and Margaret Starnes are leaving for Oil City on June 25.
"I think it's been great, I just wish there were more of it," Starnes said of his time in Warren County. "We've enjoyed being here, we've enjoyed the people, the county itself. The things the army does here are wonderful and we are ever so thankful for all the support of the county for all the work the Salvation Army does."
They will head to Oil City and coordinate the Salvation Army there and in Franklin.
Times Observer photo by Ben Klein
Majors Ron and Margaret Starnes are leaving the Salvation Army in Warren on June 25 for Oil City. The Starnes have been in Warren County for five years. “The things the army does here are wonderful and we are ever so thankful for all the support of the county for all the work the Salvation Army does,” he said.
Majors Ralph and Diane Campbell from Zanesville, Ohio, will replace them.
"We've had a lot of people rely on us for services," he said about changes over the last five years, "and we have had people who have benefited from what we've been able to do for them. And we have a great caseworker who believes wholeheartedly in what he does."
The Salvation Army's Cobham Youth Daycamp will run this summer again with 70 to 80 spots for children to attend and the back-to-school program will take off this summer and will help provide 75 to 100 children throughout the county with clothes for the new school year.
After 31 years with the Salvation Army, Starnes said there are basic steps residents can do to help people in their own community.
"I think a couple things -volunteer, not only at the Salvation Army, we'd love to have them volunteer here, but there are 20 wonderful United Fund agencies and hundreds of other smaller agencies throughout our county that just need people to be there to help. Volunteering is easy, the biggest thing is time. Just give someone your time," he said. "We have a need for people helping us with our soup kitchen, we have a need for people helping us with out clothing room, clothing distribution. This winter of course we'll be looking for volunteers to ring kettle bells."
More single parent families are relying on the services of the Salvation Army. They are trying, they are working full time minimum wage jobs and "they just can't make it on minimum wage," he said.
"I think a lot of people have a hard time to finally allow yourself to not be so prideful and come down and say 'I do need some help' that takes a lot. Very hard...and it's alright. We all get caught in that at some point. Whether were young, old, whatever. We've had people who've been promised jobs here and the jobs fell through."
These were lucrative, well paying jobs, Starnes said.
"And all the sudden the job falls through and they're stuck. They're here. What do we do? We put a down payment on a house, we have mortgage...now what happens? You have that happening. You always have those that no matter what are just down on their luck."
Sometimes there are misconceptions about who needs help within the community. There will always be poor people in the world, but there are increasingly more people who are working that need help too.
"I think we have to be careful with that, because it could be your neighbor. Just because he lives in a nice house doesn't always mean they have everything they want," Starnes said.
"We always know there are going to be poor, that's just how the world is. There are poor in the world. They have to be helped. That's our job as people, as humanitarians. As people who believe in something other than themselves. And we call it in the church setting that we sit in, our love for god. Of course outside of that, whatever you want to call it, humanitarianism, or whatever, but the poor will always be here. But the problem in our society is the next step up that are just as needful."
There are people in the community that are trying, working to make a living and still need help, he said.
Starnes estimated 1,500 to 2,000 families visit the Salvation Army for Christmas; another 400 to 500 visit for Thanksgiving; and another 1,500 families rely on the Salvation Army for some type of service throughout the year. These are families, some of whom are working with children that rely on them.
"You might be disgusted with a mom and a dad but you can't hold that against those three children that need shoes, or food, or need something. Children are the future, how are we going to help them out of that place...maybe what they need is someone who helps them understand they don't have to live like that...they can go to school and learn, they can go to college, they can get a job. They can be fruitful in this community. No matter what. And you can't hold that against a child, how maybe a family lives, or the bad decisions that a family makes. Because that child is probably not making that decision. It's not the childs fault. But we have the opportunity as the people of the community, to say to that child, you don't have to live like that. You can live better. But it takes study, it's not easy. You've got to work hard at school, you've got to work hard after school. But when you do, it pays off."