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Vance County’s Salvation Army recently welcomed new leaders Lts. Derrick and Odessa Smith, a husband-and-wife team last stationed in Alamance County.
The Smiths take over for the recently retired Captain Rick Langley and wife Angie who headed the local Salvation Army operation since 2012.
Odessa, who has been a part of the Salvation Army since she was four years old, said it was her experience and love for the ministry that attracted husband Derrick, originally of Duplin County, to serve.
“I’ll be honest, when she first invited me, I thought we were having church at a thrift store,” Derrick recalled with a laugh. “I remember vividly going to the Salvation Army for the first time and the people just came around and loved me like I had been there for 20 years!”
The Smiths have arrived at a transitional time for the local ministry, specifically with the opening of a new facility and ball fields encompassing a 40-acre lot on Ross Mill Road in Henderson. The new building will be located near Mako Medical Laboratories and Vance Charter School.
According to Odessa, the facility is expected to be completed in mid to late October with a ribbon-cutting and building dedication ceremony to follow in November.
The new facility will allow for more space for what the Smiths have identified through studies to be one of the greatest needs of the community – youth services.
“One of the biggest needs is youth development,” explained Odessa. “We would like to have after-school programs, mentoring programs and partnerships with local schools and other community organizations.”
In an interview with WIZS prior to his retirement in June, Rick Langley stated that the new facility will include a community center, gym, full-size commercial kitchen and two ball fields – baseball and soccer.
In addition to hosting Salvation Army-related games, the ballfields will double as the home field of the neighboring Vance Charter School Knights.
While construction is underway on the new building, the Salvation Army will continue to operate from its 355 Alexander Avenue location in Henderson.
The former Salvation Army Store, located at 222 W. Montgomery Street in downtown Henderson, is currently used for storage and provides the space needed to organize larger donations such as furniture, according to Derrick.
The new Salvation Army Store, located at 218 Raleigh Road in Henderson, recently held a one-day anniversary sale on August 10.
“We both want to thank the community for showing up,” Derrick said. “We had folks lining up at 8 a.m. waiting for the sale to begin at 9 a.m. It was a very successful day.”
According to Derrick, one of the highlights of the day was talking to people and making them aware of just how much their purchases were helping the community. “I don’t think many people know this, but 85 cents of every dollar spent goes back to help people in this community.”
“We’ve already seen that we have a very generous community here,” said Derrick. “It helps us to fulfill the Salvation Army’s mission to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination.”
To hear the Smiths’ Town Talk interview in its entirety, please click the play button below. Listen live to WIZS’ Town Talk Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on 1450AM, 100.1 FM or online at www.wizs.com.