Helping while hurting: Katrina recovery director relies on her faith to deal
with her own
By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff
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
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.
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.
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.
still unbelievable for me because before Katrina, her personality was like
sunshine. She was happy and those children were her life," Newell
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
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
It's possible for her to look her neighbors in
the eyes and truthfully say that she knows what they are going
Captain' tells of God's miracles
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
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
Order your copy for $9.80 at Author
House, 1663 Liberty Dr., Suite 200, Bloomington, Ind. 47403. Or call (800)
Easy-to-use reference book chronicles rich history of the
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.
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
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!"