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Helping while hurting: Katrina recovery director relies on her faith to deal

with her own loss

By Major Frank Duracher

Southern Spirit staff

For Dorothy Newell and her family, the heartbreak wrought by Hurricane Katrina goes far beyond losing houses and furniture. The pain cuts much deeper because of the unforeseen deaths of three family members several weeks after the last wind died down and the floodwaters finally receded.

 

Dorothy Newell oversees the Army's LTR program, guiding families back to recovery.

Newell now works as The Salvation Army's Long Term Recovery program manager for Louisiana. Her Katrina Aid Today staff counsels some 200 families daily. KAT case management is now one of the many long-term community recovery social services programs that make up the Army's continuum of supportive services assisting hurricane survivors on their road to recovery.

Much of the family relies on Newell. Her father is blind and she is raising a teenage nephew. When family members evacuated to different locales across the country, it was a particularly trying time.

When they were able to return to New Orleans, there was very little to come home to - their houses in Gentilly and the Uptown district were uninhabitable. The family banded together and things were slow to improve.

But for one member, the sorrow and stress of losing everything was too much. Newell's sister-in-law unexpectedly took her own life and those of two of her children. The tragedy was a crippling blow to Newell and other family members; particularly to her brother.

"This was the low-point in my life," she said. "The material things we lost never really mattered. We knew those things could be replaced."

Newell, a trained social worker, specialized in child protection for over 20 years. This only magnified the senselessness of yet another disaster-related loss that no one saw coming.

"It's still unbelievable for me because before Katrina, her personality was like sunshine. She was happy and those children were her life," Newell said.

The rigors of the disaster's aftermath were also harsh on several older members of Newell's family. One aunt, relocated to New York, was already in failing health and died before she could return to New Orleans.

Although Newell has many unanswered questions, her faith in God remains strong. She endures as a pillar of strength and stability for her family. And she can be strong for the constant stream of survivors coming to the Army's Disaster Recovery Center every day to rebuild their lives.

It's possible for her to look her neighbors in the eyes and truthfully say that she knows what they are going through.

‘Miss Captain' tells of God's miracles

"Miss Captain" is an unfolding of human interest stories that speak of God's faithulness. As told by "Miss Captain" herself - retired Major Thelma Holmes - the patchwork of stories reveals the time-tested truth that God still works miracles.

Her appointments in the Southern Territory took Holmes from Florence, S.C., to Florida and Georgia. But her 17 years in Florence, she proclaimed, taught her about the power of prayer. Commissioner Phil Needham writes in the preface that the book "holds benefit for all, if we read it with eyes to see and ears to hear God at work."

Lt. Colonel Danny Morrow wrote a tribute that applauds Major Thelma Holmes and her husband Captain Lawrence Holmes for their dedication to ministry. "No matter what the circumstances of their appointment was when they got there, and often it was difficult, it was soon better and there were people worshiping and the finances were strengthened."

Order your copy for $9.80 at Author House, 1663 Liberty Dr., Suite 200, Bloomington, Ind. 47403. Or call (800) 839-8640. http://www.authorhouse.com/

Easy-to-use reference book chronicles rich history of the Army

One of the tremendous strengths of The Salvation Army is its rich history from generation to generation. The Historical Dictionary of The Salvation Army illustrates that history, which has grown to include 1,500,000 members and adherents in 109 countries.

Edited by Major John G. Merritt, the dictionary provides an in-depth look at how the Army was founded and structured, describing the work that The Salvation Army does worldwide, and the spiritual beliefs behind the strong work ethic.

With submissions from over 150 contributors, all specialists on different aspects and countries, this volume begins with an introduction of the Founder's first establishment of the organization in 1865. The historical dictionary ends with nine appendixes - one of which is the first-ever published list of the men and women (over 425 all together) who have attained the rank of Commissioner. This reservoir of history illustrates the Army's backbone - a century and a half of faith in Jesus Christ and commitment to spreading the gospel worldwide.

Major John G. Merritt was commissioned as an officer in 1968. Primarily serving in the United States and Chile for 33 years, Merritt has taken appointments ranging from the inner city and pastoral to the editorial and educational.

Having served as director of The Salvation Army Southern Historical Center in Atlanta for 11 years, Merritt retired in 2001.

Order the book ($110) at (800) 462-6420 or online at http://www.scarecrowpress.com/.

Boys & Girls Club youth in Atlanta

tune in to ‘Radio'

James R. Kennedy, whose story inspired the movie "Radio" recently made a special visit to the Fuqua Boys & Girls Club in Atlanta. "Radio" is a strong supporter of the Boys & Girls Club program and made the visit to get an close-up look at how it helps youngsters.

"Radio" was accompanied by Coach Harold Jones of T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, S.C., where the story portrayed in the movie unfolded. The visit was part of an effort to promote National Disability Employment Awareness Month and discuss the many ways The Salvation Army can serve youth with special needs.

After watching the movie "Radio" the children were thrilled to meet the actual people. "Radio" and Coach Jones spent time with the Fuqua club staff, toured the facility and had a special presentation with the kids before departing for home. As "Radio" and Coach Jones were leaving, they mentioned how much they loved volunteering as a bell-ringer during the holidays. Coach Jones said, "'Radio' loves to ring the bell and if there is anything we can do to help The Salvation Army, just let us know!"

 

 

 






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